AUSTRALIA: Foster's H1 figures - wine struggles
Foster's is to "further review" its global wine business in light of its fiscal first half results released today. Although the group saw net profit for the six months to 31 December rise to A$764.1m from A$335.3m last year, Foster's wine unit reported a drop in earnings before interest, tax, amortization and SGARA (self-generating and regenerating assets) of 28.1% to A$182.4m.
While impressive, the climb of 128% in net profit included a gain on the disposal of the Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) business. Excluding the discontinued ALH business, net profit only rose by 2.9%. The latest profit included a A$464.3 million one-time gain, mostly related to the sale of ALH.
Foster's beer unit reported an 8.7% rise in EBITAS in the half to A$311.2 million.
In a statement, chief executive Ted Kunkel, who is due to stand down at the end of this year, conceded: "I'll be the first to admit that the level of the earnings this half has been less than acceptable. In the case of (North American) wine … we intend to take steps to re-orientate our business to achieve sustainable earnings growth even in the changed market conditions."
"There are reasons to be more confident that the worst of the difficult market conditions are behind us in California,"Kunkel added.
Calculated on a normalised basis, and excluding ALH, earnings per share remained flat at 15.1 cents per share.
A revised assessment by Southcorp's independent expert has valued the company's shares closer to the bid value offered by Foster's Group....
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Shares in Southcorp and Foster's have been halted from trading, pending an announcement....
Southcorp's share price has dropped below the offer price made by Foster's for the first time today (18 April)....
Foster's Group is considering upping its bid for Southcorp prior to extending its offer once again....
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