Japan's Asahi to buy Charlie's in New Zealand, P&N's water, juice business in Australia

Japan's biggest beermaker by sales volume, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., today took the veil of two acquisitions - one in Australia and the other in New Zealand.

It said that it is acquiring the water and juice businesses of P&N Beverages Australia Pty Ltd, the third largest soft drink company by volume in Australia, for A$188 million ($202 million) in September, through its Australian subsidiary, a deal which had been stalled over regulatory approvals.

In a separate statement the group said it plans to  acquire 100-per cent stake of Charlie's Group Ltd. (CHA), a New Zealand-based fruit juice producer, at  NZ$130 million ($107 million), through Asahi Beverages New Zealand Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi.

Last August Asahi had signed a deal to acquire P&N Beverages for about Y27.2 bn, which was opposed by the regulator Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on concerns over competition in the carbonated soft drink segment, as it had already acquired Schweppes Holdings Pty Ltd in April 2009.

Though Asahi will now buy the entire stake in P&N, to meet regulatory concerns it will separate the Australian beverages makers' carbonated soft drink and cordial businesses and divest it to Tru Blu Beverages Pty Ltd, which is also owned by P&N's owners, retaining only the water and juice businesses.

Asahi hopes to close the transaction some time by September, subject to the mandatory regulatory approvals.