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Sapporo group acquires 51% stake in top U.S. chilled beverage maker.

TOKYO, Feb. 7 Kyodo

Sapporo Holdings Ltd. said Tuesday it has acquired a 51 percent stake in U.S. beverage maker Silver Springs Citrus Inc. from Toyota Tsusho America Inc. for $24 million (about 1.8 billion yen) as it seeks to launch full-scale beverage operations in the United States.

Sapporo, which has already established itself as a top brand for Asian beer in North America, hopes the stake will provide it with a base for expanding its business and developing new products such as fruit juices, an sector that Silver Springs Citrus is strong in.

Silver Spring Citrus is the biggest U.S. manufacturer of private-brand chilled beverages for large-scale retail chains and major beverage manufacturers mainly in the United States and Canada.

Its business has been growing steadily since Toyota Tsusho America acquired 100 percent of its shares in 1994 and introduced the ''Toyota production system'' to improve manufacturing efficiency.

Founded in 1921, the Florida-based beverage maker has capital of $32.5 million (about 2.5 billion yen).
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Feb 13, 2012
Words:170
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