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Asahi to rebrand as upscale in Cambodia

091204_10
One of Japan’s leading brewers, Asahi, says it will raise its prices in the Kingdom to fall in line with its international market positioning, and that it may make acquisitions in the region.

Japan brewer says it will raise domestic prices

ASAHI Breweries Ltd plans to reposition its flagship beer brand in the Cambodian market as a premium quality beverage this month, Regional Manager Ken Horigome said Thursday.

“We are in the process of changing the location for producing the product for the Cambodian market from being made in Thailand and China to being exported from Japan,” he said, adding this move would see a subsequent price increase for Asahi beer to reflect its new status as a “premium brand” in the Kingdom.

The Tokyo-based brewery’s main product sells for a lower price in Cambodia than in many international markets.

Asahi aims to take advantage of increasing domestic demand for premium beer, said Horigome, adding that there were a number of more expensive brands seeing rising sales throughout Southeast Asia.

The move upmarket follows on the back of statements in the press this week by Asahi President Hitoshi Ogita that the firm intends to expand its Southeast Asia business by developing both organically and through acquisitions.

“We are always looking for opportunity to expand,” said Ken Horigome, adding the brewery has no current targets in Cambodia.

Although the firm produces a range of food products and soft drinks, in Cambodia it sells only beer.

Asahi has no concrete plans to expand its product offering, but is contemplating a future move, Horigome said.

Asahi’s sole Cambodian distributor, Asia Sunrise Company, did not return requests for comment.

The domestic beer market has experienced steady growth. International breweries Heineken and Carlsberg claimed that strong sales in Indochina during the third quarter helped boost profits, countering poor returns in their traditional Western markets.

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