Beer Maker in Korea

Hite Jinro Group, South Korea’s leading liquor maker, said Friday that it will merge its two affiliates to cement its leading position in the local liquor market.

Hite Brewery Co. was the country’s dominant beer maker last year with a market share of 55.8 percent, and Jinro Co. claimed a 48.7 percent stake in the soju market in the same year.

Soju is a Korean distilled beverage made from rice and other starches. Jinro was taken over by Hite Brewery in 2005.

“Hite Jinro Group expects the merger to generate synergy,” the group said in an e-mailed statement.

The group aims to enhance its efficiency as well as step up efforts for premium product development and overseas expansion.

“The merger is expected to maximize corporate value,” said Sim Won-bo, an official at Hite Jinro Group. “More products need to be developed in order to tide over the stagnant domestic market and fierce marketing competition among alcoholic beverage companies.”

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