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Tuesday, 8th May 2012
In Business In Japan,

Asahi announces buy out of Calpis

Japanese beer company Asahi has announced it is to buy out the soft drink company Calpis as it bids to increase its declining sales.

The brewer is set to purchase the soft drinks firm for 120 billion yen (£930 million) as part of its ongoing programme of purchasing smaller companies in an attempt to boost its falling beer sales in the domestic market.

In completing the deal, it will make Asahi the third largest producer of non-alcoholic drinks in the country.

Calpis produces a milky soft drink with a slight vanilla flavour that is similar to that of yoghurt drinks such as Yakult.

While the drink is mainly available in its standard version, there is also a carbonated Calpis Soda version.

Both forms of the drink are very popular across Japan and will often be used as a flavouring for deserts or in cocktail mixers.

"Calpis is a top dairy product with a bright image as a safe and healthy product and strong brand recognition. We do not have dairy products, so it will be a good compliment to our product portfolio," Asahi president Naoki Izumiya said following the acquisition.

The group is planning to complete the deal by the end of October 2012.

While the purchase puts Asahi ahead of rival brewer Kirin and tea manufacturer Ito En, it will still be behind Coca-Cola and Suntory in the drinks market.

Asahi was first founded in Osaka in 1889 and has since gone on to acquire shares in Cadbury Schweppes and the Chinese brewer Tsingtao, making it the second largest shareholder in the company with a stake of 19.9 per cent.

Asahi produces a number of different beers under its brand, although its Super Dry variety remains its most popular.

It also creates Asahi Draft and Asahi Gold, which is sold in distinctive cans.

Written by Susan Ballion