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Kirin to consider selling Australian unit's troubled milk business

Japanese brewer says it will weigh all options in strategic review

TOKYO -- Japan's Kirin Holdings on Tuesday said it will look at selling the milk beverage business of Australian unit Lion, among other "strategic options" for dealing with the struggling operation. 

Lion, a wholly owned subsidiary, also handles beer and other alcoholic beverages, mainly in Australia. Its sales for the year ended December fell 2.5% on the year to 348.7 billion yen ($3.12 billion). Dairy and other nonalcoholic beverages contributed more than 40%, but the nonalcoholic segment is stuck with low profitability, at just 3% or so.

The alcoholic beverage side carries a profit margin of about 28%.

Kirin said it will consider all possibilities for the nonalcoholic business, including continuing to invest, holding onto the operation or selling it off. The company said it would mull ways to run the business if a decision is made not to sell.

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