Japan's Asahi 'to buy N.Zealand's Independent Liquor'

Japan's Asahi Group Holdings has decided to buy Independent Liquor of New Zealand for about 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) as the beverage giant expands in Asia and Oceania, a report said Sunday.

Asahi, known for its popular "Super Dry" beer, will soon announce the deal, which will be its biggest acquisition, the Nikkei business daily said.

Japanese firms have sought to expand in foreign markets as domestic sales suffer from chronically slow consumption by the country's shrinking and ageing population.

A surging yen has also encouraged Japanese firms to invest abroad, with other beverage makers such as Kirin and Suntory also hunting for foreign purchases.

Asahi already has a foothold in the Australian soft drinks market through Schweppes Australia, acquired in 2009.

In July, Asahi said it had entered into a binding share purchase agreement to buy 100 percent of the shares of mineral water and juice maker P&N Beverages Australia, the third largest soft drinks company by volume in Australia.

It also plans to acquire New Zealand soft drink maker Charlie's Group Limited through a takeover offer.

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