Japan: Kirin shifts focus from beer to health products

Japan’s second largest brewing company Kirin is shifting its core activities away from beer towards “health and illness-preventing” products, as Chief Executive Officer and President Yoshinori Isozaki told  Japanese daily newspaper Sankei Shimbun. Iszaki, who took office in March 2015, has since since started to restructure the whole company.

Whereas his predecessors tried to internationalize the beer business to escape from the ageing Japanese home market, Isozaki said to focus more on the fast growing business in South East Asia and to strengthen the existing business in Oceania.

As part of this strategy he bought last year Mandalay Brewery in Myanmar from the military-backed Myanmar Economic Holdings. (inside.beer, 12.2.2017)

Last year, he also sold  the ailing Brazilian business dubbed Brasil Kirin, which the Japanese company acquired in 2011 at a price of 4 billion reais (US$1.25 billion), for only ¥77 billion (US$700 million) to Heineken. (inside.beer, 1.6.2017)

In its shift away from beer, Kirin is planning a global expansion of products that use its proprietary lactic acid bacteria technology, which is supposed to prevent illnesses like the common cold and influenza. The Tokyo-based company hopes to triple the revenue of its health care division to about ¥100 billion (US$880 million).

Kirin’s new medium-term business plan which will be released next year is going to reflect the new focus and strategy, Sankei Shimbun reported.

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