Fosters Group welcomes Takeovers Panel victory over SABMiller

Foster's Group welcomes Takeovers Panel victory over SABMiller

Australia's Takeovers Panel has refused to open an investigation into Foster's Group's earnings statements, following an official complaint from the brewer's would-be suitor, SABMiller.

The Panel said today (8 September) that it has thrown out SABMiller's allegations that Foster's profits guidance is too vague and that its published debt figure is misleading. Foster's succeeded in quashing an investigation after volunteering to publish its calculations for net debt.

SABMiller's complaint, filed last week, came as the Peroni brewer prepares to launch a hostile takeover offer for Foster's Group. It has valued the Australian brewer at AUD4.9 per share in cash. But, late last month, Foster's management used the group's full-year results to try to extract a higher offer by outlining a plan to grow profits and a proposal to hand at least AUD500m (US$531.7m) back to shareholders in the year ahead. 

Following today's ruling, Foster's said that it "stands by the content of its 2011 full-year results presentation". It said that it continues to "strongly reject" SABMiller's allegations.

Despite its victory, though, Foster's continues to look vulnerable amid uncertainty in global stock markets. Its share price closed at AUD4.85 on the Australian Stock Exchange today, and has now spent an entire week lagging SABMiller's offer price.