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No. 353, February 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


Through a series of acquisitions dating back to 1985, SUNTORY WATER GROUP, INC., a wholly owned subsidiary of SUNTORY LTD., has emerged as the second-largest supplier of bottled water for both home and office delivery and retail sale in the United States. The Marietta, Georgia company strengthened its hold on that position, which translates into a 9.2 percent market share, through the purchase of CLOISTER SPRING WATER CO. for an undisclosed price. That Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based company distributes bottled water in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Suntory Water Group's other brands include Belmont Springs, Crystal Springs and Polar. Industry analysts put the company's 1997 sales at $362 million. The top bottled water company in the United States is NESTLE S.A.'s Perrier Group, with a 28.1 percent market share.

Shochu manufacturer TAKAHASHI SHUZO HONTEN LTD. is trying to break into the American market. The Kumamoto prefecture company has signed up MUTUAL TRADING CO., INC. of Los Angeles to distribute its Hakutake Shiro Shochu to Japanese supermarkets and restaurants. It has a modest first-year sales goal of $74,300. A 750-milliliter bottle of Takahashi Shuzo's shochu costs between $17.70 and $26.55. Shochu is a clear, distilled liquor.

An exchange rate of ¥113=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa

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