UPDATE 1-Steel Partners seeks shareholder OK on Sapporo board

* Steel Partners wants six news board members

* Sapporo is smallest of Japan’s major beermakers

* Sapporo to have annual general shareholders meet in March

(Adds details)

TOKYO, March 8 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. fund Steel Partners said on
Monday it would ask shareholders of Japanese brewer Sapporo
Holdings (2501.T: ) to back its proposal for new board members, in
a bid to help the company cope with a declining domestic market.

Japanese brewers have been under increasing pressure as the
country’s population ages and tastes change.

“Sapporo’s existing board and management team have been
given a sufficiently long period of time to demonstrate the
effectiveness of their (business) strategy, and we belive they
have failed,” Warren Lichtenstein, who leads the fund, said in a
statement.

Steel Partrners, the largest shareholder in Sapporo with an
18 percent stake, is seeking the support of Sapporo shareholders
to appoint six nominees it recommends and four current directors
whom it supports for re-election, it said in the statement.

Sapporo, known for its “Yebisu” and “Sapporo” beer brands, is
the smallest of Japan’s major brewers and it has so far been
overshadowed by rivals such as Kirin Holdings (2503.T: ) and
Suntory Holdings [SUNTH.UL] in overseas expansion.

Steel Partners is known in Japan as an activist fund seeking
higher returns out of poorly performing companies. The U.S. fund
in 2008 succeeded in ousting the president and most of board
members of a wigmaker Aderans Holdings (8170.T: ).

Sapporo Brewery will hold an annual general shareholders
meeting on March 30.

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(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Joseph Radford)

UPDATE 1-Steel Partners seeks shareholder OK on Sapporo board