French potato variety developer Germicopa is set to enter the far eastern market, after Japanese giant Kirin Brewery Company purchased 71% of the group's outstanding shares of several billion yen.

The brewer announced the buyout on Friday, and revealed that the deal gives it sales rights to all Germicopa-developed potato varieties.

Kirin has ambitious plans for the company, and hopes that by introducing new potato varieties to the Japanese market, potato sales will grow from ¥180m (US$1.4m) to ¥3bn in around seven years. By cultivating and marketing potato seeds and products through local subsidiary Japan Potato Co, Kirin targets output of 1,000 tons by 2003.