AUSTRALIA: Foster's predicts quiet year
While domestic beer sales helped to offset poor conditions in the North American wine business, the company warned that the difficult economic conditions will continue throughout the year. Weaker margins in the US, thanks to an economic downturn and grape glut have led to greater competition from cut-price wine.
"We have not as yet seen any noticeable recovery in this market and the factors adversely affecting second-half 2002/03 margins, namely product mix, higher costs and increased promotional expenditure, have influenced performance in the first months of 2003/04," Foster's chief executive Ted Kunkel told Reuters.
The company expects to generate gross proceeds of A$1.4 billion (US$979m) following the floatation of its Australian Leisure and Hospitality pubs arm. Fosters plans to return funds to shareholders and said it might buy back as much as 10% of issued capital, or up to 200m shares. More details would be announced in mid-November.
A revised assessment by Southcorp's independent expert has valued the company's shares closer to the bid value offered by Foster's Group....
Australian liquor giant Foster's bid for winemaker Southcorp is gathering momentum....
As one takeover story trundles on, another one has just moved up a gear....
The chief executive of Foster's believes the global premium wine industry is on the upturn....
Foster's Group Ltd is expected to announce that it is lifting its offer for fellow Australian Southcorp, transforming three months of corporate hostility into a friendly takeover....
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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