Despite persistent speculation that it will soon embark on a major acquisition drive once it disposes of its leisure business, Foster's Group says it has not seen any deals attractive enough to spend money on yet.

Chief financial officer Pete Scott told an analysts briefing: "While we would prefer to put the money to work through an attractive acquisition, we have not at this time identified a deal sufficiently compelling to pursue."

If no strategic acquisition presents itself he said the company would seek to use the funds "in a balanced way" involving both debt reduction and a return to shareholders.

Chief Executive Ted Kunkel added to the comments by saying that no small acquisitions were planned for fiscal 2004.