Kirin Holdings today (6 August) posted fall in first-half earnings but said upped its full-year outlook as it continues talks to merge with Suntory Holdings.

For the six months to 30 June, net profit tumbled to JPY14.96bn (US$157.5m), from JPY81.12bn a year earlier.

Net sales during the first half rose 1.2% to reach JPY1.06tr from the previous year, while operating profit dropped 16% to JPY40.18bn, hurt by weakness in the Australian dollar and poor performance of the company’s soft-drink business.

The company’s National Foods division in Australia was impacted by the economic slowdown resulting in an operating loss of JPY6.4bn in the soft drinks and food business.

The company revised its forecast for 2009. Kirin said it expects net profit to increase to JPY60bn from a previous forecast of JPY57bn.

Kirin lifted its operating profit outlook to JPY125bn from JPY121bn. The company’s sales projection remained unchanged at JPY2.3tr.