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Asahi to sell stakes in Chinese farm, dairy outfits

Clearing out non-strategic assets in pursuit of new growth

TOKYO -- Asahi Group Holdings will unload its shares in a dairy company and farm business in China, as it realigns its assets to focus on strategic growth fields.

Asahi will sell the stakes to Chinese company New Hope Dairy for an estimated sum of a little over 1 billion yen ($8.49 million). The transaction is to be completed this winter.

The businesses in Shandong Province produce milk using Japanese technology, and about 30 kinds of vegetables throughout the year using minimal amounts of farm chemicals. The products, sold in the area as well as such cities as Shanghai and Beijing, are popular as upscale items.

Asahi created the businesses in 2006 with partners such as Japanese trading house Itochu, in response to a request from Shandong authorities to support agriculture in the province. Asahi has likely determined that the businesses have accomplished their goal.

Asahi has been re-examining past investments while signing major acquisition deals in Europe and elsewhere. In November, the company announced the dissolution of a capital partnership with Japanese food maker Kagome. This month, it sold some shares in Tingyi-Asahi Beverages Holding for 33.4 billion yen. 

(Nikkei)

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