New markets targeted by Japan’s Asahi Group

In July of this year, Asahi Group paid just under $275m for 100% of Permanis, the Malaysian beverage manufacturer and distribution company. If press reports are correct, the Asahi Group is in ongoing discussions to acquire Independent Liquor, the New Zealand-based brewer and distributor, with a deal value of over $1billion being talked about.

If Asahi does complete on this deal, then it would provide an exit for Pacific Equity Partners and CCMP Capital, which acquired 100% of Independent Liquor in January 2007 from its founder, and would open up access to new customer markets in both Australia and New Zealand for the Japanese firm.

Given that Japan has both a declining and ageing population it makes perfect sense for Asahi to look to emerging markets like Malaysia and more established markets like New Zealand and Australia to enable it to continue to growing alcohol and soft drinks.

Asahi has already taken tentative steps into China – it now holds just over 41% in the Tsingtao Brewery Company and you couldn’t rule out the thought that the group would like to hold a greater share even though the reality of doing so may be more difficult.

That said, if you had to pick your countries in Asia Pacific where you could be pretty confident that alcohol sales would remain fairly constant, Australia would be a very good starting point, with New Zealand a close second.

Filed under: Australia, drinks, Japan, NewZealand, PE, Asia