Nomura, Carlyle to Buy Orion Breweries for 57 B. Yen

Economy

Urasoe, Okinawa Pref., Jan. 23 (Jiji Press)--Japanese brokerage giant Nomura Holdings Inc. <8604> and The Carlyle Group, a U.S. investment firm, said Wednesday that they will jointly acquire Orion Breweries Ltd., Japan's fifth-largest beer maker, for some 57 billion yen.

Orion aims to revitalize its mainstay brewery business and bolster its overseas operations by inviting outside personnel to join its current management team.

A joint company set up by Nomura and Carlyle will buy all outstanding shares in the brewery, based in the city of Urasoe in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa, through means including a tender offer at the end of March.

Later, a stake of some 10 pct will be allotted to Asahi Breweries Ltd., which has been a capital and business tie-up partner of Orion since 2002. Asahi is currently the top shareholder of Orion, with a stake of about 10 pct.

Orion, which is not a publicly traded company, has high name recognition in Okinawa. But its beer sales have been sluggish, mainly because of fierce competition with other alcoholic beverages from rival companies.

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Jiji Press