Asahi Soft Drinks, a unit of Asahi Group Holdings, hopes to sell 240 million cases of nonalcoholic beverages this year, up 15% from 2013, company says

TOKYO , February 5, 2014 () – Asahi Soft Drinks Co. said Wednesday it aims to raise its annual beverage sales for a 12th straight year in 2014, hitting a record level.

The company, a unit of major Japanese beverage maker Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. , hopes to sell 240 million cases of nonalcoholic drinks this year, up 15 pct from the previous year, counting on the effects of the integration of Calpis Co., the manufacturer of Calpis- brand lactic acid drinks.

The core operations of Calpis were absorbed by Asahi Soft Drinks in September and will fully contribute to Asahi Soft Drinks' sales from this year.

Compared with estimated annual sales in 2013, which assume that Calpis made a full-year contribution to Asahi Soft Drinks' earnings, the 2014 target is equivalent to a 3 pct increase year on year.

Asahi Soft Drinks also plans to boost sales of its mainstay brands.

The company aims to increase sales of its Wonda canned coffee by one pct to 40.2 million cases and those of Mitsuya Cider by 4 pct to 41.5 million cases. It expects sales of Calpis-brand beverages to grow 2.1-fold to 49.2 million cases compared with the September- December period last year.

Asahi Soft Drinks President Kazuo Motoyama said that the integration of Calpis will save over 2 billion yen in costs in 2014 alone. The company plans to strengthen sales promotions by involving the Calpis business, he added.END

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