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Kirin ups beer investment amid strong results

Japan’s Kirin Holdings will invest US$25 million in Indian craft beer after stronger than expected results in 2023.

Kirin ups investment amid strong results

Kirin Holdings posted revenue of ¥2.1bn (£11.1m) in the year to 31 December 2023, representing a 7.3% rise year-on-year. Profit was up 4.6% on 2022, and operating profit rose 29.5% to ¥150.3bn (£79.4m). Revenue from the Kirin Brewery division was up 3.2% on 2022 to ¥685m. Kirin Brewery’s total beer sales increased 5.9% to 1.4bn litres.

CEO Yoshinori Isozaki told analysts that price changes in October helped to boost beer sales “more than expected”, after the company dropped the price of beer brands including Kirin Ichiban. Kirin raised prices for its no-malt Honkirin and Kirin Nodogoshi Nama beers.

“This year, we will focus on Kirin Ichiban and new brands in the pure beer category,” Isozaki told analysts. Outside the beer category, however, its Hyoketsu ready-to-drink canned cocktail also grew 35% in 2023, outperforming the company’s plans.

For 2024, Kirin forecasts profits to rise 6.4% to ¥2.3bn (£12.0m). Isozaki said that the company plans to strengthen its marketing investment, particularly in the face of looming liquor tax revisions which will come into force in Japan in 2026. The CEO predicts that these revisions will intensify competition in the run up. “The key to success in 2026 will be how much we can win in the beer category,” he said, adding that it is “also important to maintain our strong brands” in categories which are due to see higher tax brackets from 2026.

This week, it was also revealed that Kirin Holdings will invest US$25m to up its minority stake in B9 Beverages, responsible for Indian craft beer Bira 91 and owner of pub chain Beer Cafe.

Executives aware of the development said that the investment will be made through the purchase of new shares, raising Kirin’s stake beyond its current 20%. Another American investor is also close to investing US$25 million for an additional stake, according to NewsBytes, bringing the total fresh investments to US$50 million at a pre-money valuation of US$600 million.

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