8 Aug 2011

Japan's Asahi to buy NZ's Independent Liquor

6:38 am on 8 August 2011

Shortly after making a takeover bid for the juice-maker Charlies, the Japanese beverage giant Asahi is again on the acquisition trail in New Zealand.

The Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday, that Asahi plans to buy Independent Liquor for about 100 billion yen, or $NZ1.5 billion.

The report says Asahi aims to reach an agreement this week.

The move follows a series of deals by Japanese beverage makers looking abroad for profits as they face sagging domestic consumption and a strong yen, but a lack of targets in consolidating global beer markets has made expansion tough.

Independent Liquor, whose products include Woodstock Bourbon and Vodka Cruiser, had $NZ414.4 million in revenue last year, but recorded a loss of $NZ22.7 million.

The firm is eyeing expansion into the United States and China.

Unitas and Pacific Equity Partners acquired Independent Liquor in 2006 for more than $NZ1 billion.