Japane. Highest-ever Q1 sales for Asahi

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Asahi Group Holdings Ltd, the Japanese brewer that’s buying European beer brands worth US$2.9bil from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, posted its highest-ever first-quarter sales as demand for its alcoholic beverages rose.

Sales rose 1.6% to 380.2 billion yen (US$3.5bil) in the three months ended March 2016, while net income fell 95% to 614 million yen, Tokyo-based Asahi said in a statement. The drop in net income is due to a one-time gain related to an investment in a Chinese company booked in the same period last year, according to the company.

The brewer of Super Dry brand beer in February forecast 2016 net income of 80 billion yen that lagged analyst estimates. It reiterated the forecast yesterday.

Japanese brewers are looking to expand abroad to counter falling domestic consumption amid a stagnant economy, shrinking population and changing consumer tastes.