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Kirin Profit Slumps 39% on Drop in Value of Assets, Lion

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Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) --Kirin Holdings Co.’s annual profit dropped 39 percent on a preliminary basis as the value of its Sydney-based Lion unit and investments declined.

Net income fell to 7 billion yen ($92 million) in 2011 from 11.4 billion yen the previous year, the Tokyo-based company reported today in a preliminary earnings statement. The brewer, Japan’s second-largest by volume, had forecast 2011 profit of 27 billion yen.

Kirin’s earnings fell for a second year after it bought Lion in 2009 in a deal that valued Australia’s second-biggest brewer at about A$8.2 billion ($7.5 billion at the time), including debt. Industrywide beer sales in Japan fell 3.7 percent to 442 million cases last year, the lowest level since records began in 1992.

“There are still concerns that sales at the company’s Australia business may decline,” said Hiroshi Saji, an analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo with a “neutral” rating on Kirin shares. “We still can’t say Kirin has bottomed out.”

The maker of Ichiban-Shibori beer fell 2 percent to 933 yen at 1:18 p.m. in Tokyo, compared with the 0.2 percent gain in Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Index. The beverage maker is scheduled to brief the press in Tokyo at 4:30 p.m. today.

Kirin booked 6.6 billion yen of charges for impairment of fixed assets for Lion and 2.2 billion yen for its Chinese subsidiary Kirin Brewery (Zhuhai) Co., Hajime Kawasaki, a spokesman for the Japanese company, said by phone today.

The brewer left its planned 2011 year-end dividend unchanged.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shunichi Ozasa in Tokyo at sozasa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net

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