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Japan’s Suntory Plans Initial Share Sale of Beverage Unit

Suntory Holdings Ltd., the closely held Japanese whiskey and beer maker, is planning an initial public offering of its non-alcoholic beverage unit in Tokyo and will set up a division within the subsidiary to explore deals.

The company will list Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, it said in an e-mailed statement today, without providing a time frame or size of the offering. The unit will set up a department for mergers and acquisitions starting Jan. 1, according to the statement.

Suntory, along with rivals Kirin Holdings Co. and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., has sought growth overseas as a declining population damps domestic demand. The Osaka-based company has focused overseas acquisitions on non-alcohol beverages in the past five years, buying Orangina Schweppes Group of France and New Zealand’s Frucor Beverages Group Ltd. in 2009.

The subsidiary aims to have sales of 2 trillion yen ($24 billion) by 2020, according to today’s statement. The unit had 970.6 billion yen in sales for the year ended December 2011, while parent Suntory Holdings generated 1.8 trillion yen.

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