Japanese brewer Sapporo Holdings has confirmed plans to invest around US$2.5bn over the next five years in a bid to boost capacity and expand its presence in food and soft drinks.

A spokesperson for the company told just-food today (10 September) tat the company, which saw its full-year profits slide 71% in February, will invest the money in boosting growth and expanding in the food and soft drinks categories.

Sapporo will potentially look at acquisitions as a means of expansion in the two categories, the spokesperson told just-food.

“We are thinking of investing in foreign business. Acquisitions are a possibility. Both [domestic and international] would be possible, either might happen.”

The further integration of the group’s Japanese food arm Pokka Corp and its own non-alcoholic beverage unit made earlier this year, has formed “a good base” for the growth of its food and soft drinks business, the spokesperson said.

“We already have an alcohol business and soft drinks business … so we will of course increase our alcohol beverage business, but to make more growth we think we need to expand the food and soft drinks business,” he told just-food.

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In November last year, Sapporo announced plans to integrate its Sapporo Beverage Co and Pokka Corp. units into one business – Pokka Sapporo Food & Beverage – in order to “strengthen competitive edge and enhance corporate value under severe market competitions”.

Sapporo Beverage Co. produces soft drinks for the Japanese market, while Japan-based Pokka includes confectionery and foodservice, as well as soft drinks.

The firm’s full-year profits were badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. For the 12-month period, Sapporo’s net profit fell by 71%, to JPY3.1bn. The company, however, expects net profit to double in 2012 and reach JPY7.4bn in 2013.