Asahi Group Holdings 1st Half Net Profit Up 4.7% On Lower Costs

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Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. (2502.TO) said Tuesday that its net profit for the interim period ended June 30 grew 4.7% from the previous year, in part due to lower expenses.

The nation’s biggest brewer in terms of market share said its net profit came to Y16.27 billion during the just-ended six-month period, compared with the year-earlier profit of Y15.54 billion.

Sales declined 2.4% to Y651.66 billion from Y667.41 billion a year earlier, while operating profit jumped 48% on year to Y36.44 billion.

Japan’s beer industry is under pressure as the nation’s shrinking population and weak economy continue to pull down domestic demand. A shift in consumer appetite to other drinks is also hurting beer sales. Industry-wide shipments ebbed 3.5% to 200.32 million cases in the first half.

For the full business year ending Dec. 31, the company kept intact its group net profit outlook at Y57 billion on operating profit of Y107 billion. Sales are now pegged a Y1.459 trillion, compared with Y1.490 trillion in its outlook in April.

The earnings are based on Japanese accounting methods.

Separately, the company said it will sell its Chinese units through Asahi Breweries Itochu Holdings to China Resources Snow Breweries Investments Ltd. for about 300 million yuan at the end of September.

Asahi said it expects to book an extraordinary gain of Y2 billion from the sale in the current fiscal year.