JAPAN – Suntory Holdings, a Japanese multinational brewing and distilling company group, has created a new Suntory RTD Company that combines the “know-how and assets” of the Suntory group, which comprises Japan-based Suntory, US spirits company Beam Suntory, and Suntory Beverage & Food.

The new unit replaces the global RTD development department that was under the spirits company in a move designed to “accelerate business growth in the growing global RTD market,” the group said in a statement.

Suntory Holdings managing executive officer Sho Semba will become CEO of Suntory RTD Company from today, in addition to continuing in his group-wide position.

Following the axing of the spirits development arm, Tatsushi Yoshida becomes senior general manager at the new group RTD company, as well as continuing to be the senior executive of the production department under the Spirits Company of Suntory spirits.

Other structural changes include a new supply chain ‘strategy planning department’ to tackle geopolitical risks and fluctuating product markets, closing its supply chain excellence department’, and a ‘global supply solutions department’ to reinforce collaboration with overseas organizations for the increasingly globalized procurement function.

Meanwhile, Suntory Beverage and Food’s new Chief Executive Makiko Ono, the first female CEO of a listed Japanese company with a market capitalization of more than ¥1 trillion, is seeking to deliver growth via a merger and acquisition strategy to take advantage of changes in consumer behavior as the pandemic eases.

The company is seeking acquisition opportunities totaling as much as ¥700 billion ($5.4 billion) over the next few years, Ono said.

She added that the unit of the Suntory group sees potential in health-related drinks in the U.S., Asia, and regions where Suntory has currently little presence.

“Consumers are becoming more health conscious both mentally and physically,” Ono said, explaining that the impact of COVID-19 and remote work has led to more growth opportunities in products such as energy drinks, tea, and canned coffee.

Ono joined the soft-drink company’s parent, which later became Suntory Holdings, in 1982 after graduating from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

So far, Suntory Beverage’s stock has risen 8.6% this year, outperforming the Topix Food Index at 4.6% and the wider Topix benchmark at 3.6%.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.