TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese beer and beverage maker Asahi Group Holdings <2502.T> said a South Korean consumer boycott of Japanese goods cost it around 3 billion yen ($27.32 million) last year.
“The impact is continuing in the current year,” Atsushi Katsuki, a senior Asahi executive told reporters. In addition to lost sales, the company was having to dispose of unsold beer which were past their expiry dates, he said.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after a South Korean court in 2018 ordered Japanese companies to compensate Koreans who were forced to work for Japanese occupiers during World War Two. Japan later retaliated by restricting exports of high-tech materials to South Korea.
Before the boycott, South Korea had bought 61% of Japanese beer exports. Asahi Super Dry was the most popular import brand in South Korea, according to Euromonitor.
Asahi Group’s operating profit in 2019 fell 4.9% from a year earlier to 201 billion yen, hit also by a higher yen. The company expects a 1% rise to 203 billion yen in the current year, missing the market’s forecast for 242 billion yen, according to Refinitiv data.
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Kim Coghill and Shounak Dasgupta)