TOKYO, May 25 (Kyodo) — Kirin Holdings Co. President Senji Miyake has expressed readiness to boost its investment in the beverage business in Southeast Asia, a high-growth market, saying it will "steadily invest" in the region.
"Placed high on our priority list is Southeast Asia," he said in a recent interview, noting that the company is devising country-by-country strategies to enter the market with Fraser and Neave Ltd., a major Singaporean beverage firm in which Kirin has a stake, as the pillar of its partnership in the effort.
"There might be mergers and acquisitions if necessary," Miyake said.
By the end of last year, Kirin had acquired companies in Australia and Brazil that produce beer and other beverages.
Miyake suggested Kirin will strive to establish a structure under which the companies in the two countries and Japan would jointly procure ingredients in a bid to produce synergetic effects.
"We can work together internationally in the procurement of raw materials and can complement one another on the risks of weather changes, and good and bad harvests of ingredients," he said.
Turning to the domestic market, Miyake welcomed moves to reorganize the industry, notably Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.'s recent agreement with Ajinomoto Co. to buy its wholly owned arm Calpis Co., a leading maker of lactic acid beverages.
"Many players exist even though the market won't grow in size because of population decline" in Japan, he said, while expressing reluctance to engage in an M&A with regard to Kirin Beverage Co., a group firm ranked No. 5 beverage producer in the country.
"There is no point in weaklings banding together," he said. "We will make investments aimed at nurturing strong brands and increasing sales."