After confirming the China market to be too competitive, Sapporo Holdings Ltd., the Japanese brewer seeking to expand in North America, plans to spend as much as 125 billion yen ($1.5 billion) on acquisitions and partnerships over a four-year period.
The Yebisu and Sleeman maker aims to expand in North America, Southeast Asia and Japan, where it can build on existing businesses, incoming President Tsutomu Kamijo said in an interview in Tokyo. “More and more wealthy people are emerging in Southeast Asia,” he said. “There is no doubt that Vietnam will expand.”
Sapporo, which plans to spend the amount between 2012 and 2016, is among Japanese brewers turning to overseas markets as a shrinking population dims domestic prospects. The 134-year-old company agreed this month to raise its stake in Pokka Corp. to increase sales of non-alcoholic beverages and reduce reliance on alcoholic drinks, which generate almost 80 percent of revenue.
The company plans to open a brewery in Vietnam this year and is considering boosting production capacity at its Sleeman Breweries Ltd. unit in Canada, Kamijo, 57, said in the interview on Feb. 16. Sapporo is still seeking to buy a premium beer brand in the U.S.
Sapporo had a 0.4 percent share in the North American beer market last year, helped by a 4.7 percent share in Canada with its Sleeman unit, according to Euromonitor International.