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Japanese brewery Asahi says it hopes to expand ties with South Korea's Lotte, with which it already has a beer sales partnership. This comes as Asahi tries to turn around its struggling soft drink business in South Korea.
Japan's Asahi Breweries is considering sale of a stake in a loss-making South Korean soft drink maker, while tieing up with nation's No.1, the Lotte Group.
Asahi has a 58 percent stake in Haitai, but has been struggling to turn around South Korea's No.3, which lost $34 million last year.
Asahi and other Japanese beermakers have expanded overseas ties, and President Naoki Izumiya says further growth from a five percent share now is likely.
Naoki Izumiya, President of Asahi Breweries said "On the international sales front, we look to push the overall share to 20 to 30 percent by 2015, and our international business can become a growth driver."
The $8.5 billion Asahi, locked in a battle for the No.1 crown with Kirin, has a joint venture with Lotte selling "Super Dry" beer in South Korea, as local demand flattens.
Asahi purchased a near 20 percent stake in China's Tsingtao for $670 million and acquired Cadbury's Australian beverage business for $875 million, but speculation is growing about its interest in the $10-billion brewer Foster's.
Naoki Izumiya said "We're looking at all markets, so in that sense I can't definitely say 'We have no interest.''"
Japan's beer market has shrunk by over 15 percent in the last decade, hurt by changing tastes and demography.