TOKYO (AP) -- Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. said Thursday it has agreed to buy major New Zealand beverage maker Independent Liquor Ltd. as part of its drive for global growth.
The Japanese brewer's Australian subsidiary will pay New Zealand dollars 1.53 billion ($1.28 billion) for Independent Liquor's parent company, Flavoured Beverages Group Holdings.
Independent Liquor is New Zealand's biggest maker of premixed alcoholic beverages with brands such as Woodstock bourbon drinks and Vodka Cruiser.
Like other Japanese companies, Asahi faces an aging and shrinking market at home that is pushing drinks makers to seek new growth abroad, particularly in Asia and the South Pacific. Under its long-term vision, Asahi aims expand sales by at least a third and increase the share of overseas revenue in an effort to "join the ranks of the top global food companies in scale."
The Tokyo-based company acquired Schweppes Australia in 2009, and is in the process of buying New Zealand orange juice maker Charlie's Group Ltd. through a tender offer. It also said last month that it would buy P&N Beverages Australia Pty Ltd.
Asahi President Naoki Izumiya told reporters that his company would also seek and consider opportunities in regions outside Asia and the South Pacific.
The announcement comes less than three weeks after rival Kirin Holdings Co. said it would buy Brazilian brewer Schincariol Group in one of the largest overseas takeover bids by a Japanese company this year.