Foster's weighs Courage sale deckys
Tuesday 14 February 1995
Ted Kunkel, chief executive of Foster's, side-stepped direct questions about the possible sale of Courage, after announcing an underlying 26 per cent interim profits improvement to A$225m (£108m).
Foster's stated net profits, though, were A$7m lower at A$204m after accounting for tax and a fall in positive abnormal items from A$49m to A$2m.
Mr Kunkel said the company had started its strategic review and was "still considering" options for Courage, the second-largest brewer in Britain, which lifted operating profit contribution from £48.4m to £56.5m for the period to 31 December.
The OFT inquiry, however, will almost undoubtedly deter any potential buyer of Courage from making a move for the time being. Scottish & Newcastle Breweries and Whitbread, jointly the fourth-largest brewers in Britain, are widely viewed as the favourites to buy Courage, which is understood to be worth more than £500m.
Analysts said Mr Kunkel's upbeat comments about Courage's prospects could not necessarily mean that Foster's would not sell the business. Mr Kunkel failed to mention that Courage was recovering, and instead painted a picture of a company continuing to grow in strength.
"Courage improved its position with an excellent half-year performance which belied the difficulties of operating in a market in which production is still declining and which is further exacerbated by direct imports from continental Europe," Mr Kunkel said.
"Market share grew to 19.3 per cent with volumes up more than 2 per cent against the previous corresponding period."
Profits, however, were down 23 per cent; Courage's profits in the latest half-year are still 10 per cent shy of those in the first six months of 1992/93.
The OFT inquiry looks likely to put the block on several expected takeovers of independent pub companies by larger brewers. Frank Nicholson, joint managing director of Vaux, the Sunderland-based regional brewer, said yesterday that Vaux might be interested in buying Century Inns, which last week postponed its stock market flotation. However, if Century proposed a deal "I would not like to guess how much they are worth without seeing the OFT's findings", Mr Nicholson said.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
16 Waitrose customers who could not cope with the end of free coffee
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...