Japan's Kirin targets profit rise over 16 pct by 2015

TOKYO Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:41am EDT

TOKYO Oct 15 (Reuters) - Japan's Kirin Holdings Co aims to lift its operating profit by more than 16 percent over the next three years as the beer and soft drinks maker uses assets acquired in a buying spree over the past few years to boost its bottom line.

Kirin, the maker of Ichiban Shibori beer and the Japanese distributor of Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser and Heineken beer brands, is aiming for an operating profit of more than 180 billion yen ($2.30 billion) in the year to December 2015, against an estimated 155 billion yen for this business year.

A highly competitive and shrinking home market has forced Kirin and rivals Asahi Group Holdings and Suntory Holdings to snap up stakes in several foreign firms in hopes of developing overseas profit growth drivers.

Over the last five years, Kirin has completed deals worth over $10 billion, including buying Brazil's Shincariol, Australia's Lion Nathan and a large stake in San Miguel Brewery of the Philippines. ($1 = 78.3550 Japanese yen) (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Michael Watson)

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