Japanese conglomerate Kirin Holdings has posted a 20% rise in net profit for the year, a rise driven partly by the company's recent acquisition activities, which included National Foods and Australia's Dairy Farmers.

The Tokyo-based company earned a net profit of JPY80.18bn (US$880m) for the 12 months ended 31 December, compared to JPN66.71bn in 2007.

Kirin attributed a 'special profit' of JPY72.6bn to the leap, generated through stock swaps during the consolidation of Kyowa Hakko.

The company, which holds a 46% stake in Australia's Lion Nathan, posted a 28% rise in consolidated sales for the period, which reached JPY2.304tn.

Operating income increased 21% to reach JPY145.9bn.

The company said it is predicting a 29% fall in net profit to JPY57bn for the fiscal year end and a 17% fall in operating profit to JPY121bn due to higher material costs.

Kirin said in a separate statement today that it has positioned 2009, the final year of the 2007-2009 Kirin Group medium-term business plan, as "Year Zero in the run-up to its next medium-term business plan".

The statement went on: "In 2009, we will continue to pursue three core growth strategies: facilitate independent growth at operating companies; generate growth through group synergies; and allocate resources on a large scale."

However it added that rather than aiming for purely quantitative growth, it was instigating "a major strategic shift" toward qualitative growth.

"In addition, we will pursue CSR initiatives that reflect the kind of company Kirin is while reinforcing the level of public trust in Kirin Group," the company said.

It added that under these basic core growth strategies it would: create renewed growth in the domestic alcohol beverage business; pursue a domestic comprehensive beverages group strategy; internationalise its business through a comprehensive beverages group strategy and develop the health food and functional food business.