Asahi Breweries 1Q Group Net Profit Y3.64 Billion Vs Y4.00 Million

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Asahi Breweries Ltd. (2502.TO) said Thursday its net profit surged during the fiscal first quarter ended March 31, as lower advertising outlays canceled out a special loss caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The Tokyo-based beer maker reported a group net profit of Y3.64 billion for the three months, compared with a profit of Y4 million in the same period a year earlier.

The company said it booked a special loss of Y6.9 billion related to damages to its brewery at Fukushima in northern Japan among other facilities, which were hit by the March 11 disaster. The company aims to resume operations at the brewery by summer.

The lost production at the plant prompted Asahi to concentrate on its mainline products, thus pushing back the planned launch of some of new products. That led to fewer outlays on sales promotion, helping to underpin its bottom line.

Beer demand is usually weak during the January-March period, and Japanese breweries spend heavily to promote new products ahead of the peak summer season. That often causes relatively low profits, and sometimes losses, at brewers.

Asahi registered sales of Y280.22 billion, down 1.4% from Y284.12 billion in the same period a year earlier, while it had an operating profit of Y7.41 billion, better than a loss of Y2.46 billion a year earlier.

For the full business year ending Dec. 31, the company left its profit and sales outlook unchanged. It continues to forecast a net profit of Y57 billion, an operating profit of Y107 billion and sales of Y1.490 trillion.

The company’s earnings are based on Japanese accounting standards.