Lion Nathan has posted a healthy set of results for its fiscal full-year.

The Trans-Tasman company, which operates in the beer, spirit and wine categories, said today (21 November) that operating profit in the year to the end of September climbed by 3.8% year-on-year, coming in at A$267.2m (US$233.2m). The rise came on the back of increased sales in the year, up 6.6% on FY 2006 to A$1.97bn.

Net profit, including one-offs, increased by 24% to A$282.1m, aided in part by the sale of the company's Auckland brewery site in the period.

Lion Nathan credited the sales rise to increased brand investment and new product development, coupled with greater focus on national and premium brands.

Looking forward, the company said it expects net profit for FY 2008 to reach between A$270m and A$280m, as rising raw material costs and higher capital expenditures on new product lines and breweries temper stronger beer sales.

"The outlook is for a significant step up in earnings from the 2009 financial year," the company said.

Earlier this month, Lion Nathan, which is 46%-owned by Kirin Holdings, acquired Tasmanian brewer J. Boag & Son as part of a larger deal between Kirin and San Miguel Corp. Coupled with higher expenditures, the company said the purchase would postpone capital management plans for the "foreseeable future".

A final dividend of A$0.21 per share was declared, bringing the annual dividend to A$0.40, markedly lower than the A$0.69 paid out a year earlier.