Japanese beer maker Asahi announces first price hikes in 14 years; shares jump

Retail prices on 162 items will rise between 6 per cent and 10 per cent from Oct 1, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters

TOKYO — Shares in Asahi Group Holdings surged on Wednesday (April 27) after the Japanese beer maker announced its first price increases for canned beer in 14 years and a range of other price hikes to cope with rising costs.

Retail prices on 162 items, mostly beer products, will rise between 6 per cent and 10 per cent from Oct 1, reflecting increasing costs for materials, energy and transportation, it said on Tuesday after the market closed.

After decades of deflation in Japan, consumer price pressures have mounted as the cost of fuel and other commodities soar in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and due to logistical snags caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Asahi's stock climbed 4.3 per cent, outperforming a 1.2 per cent drop in the benchmark Nikkei index.

Rivals Kirin Holdings and Sapporo Holdings said on Wednesday that they are also considering price increases but have not made a decision yet.

A Suntory Holdings spokesman said the company had no comment, noting its last price changes for its beer and wine products were in Oct 2020.

Asahi is Japan's biggest beer maker, commanding nearly 40 per cent of the market.

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