Coopers Brewery has vowed to continue its fight against Lion Nathan, while revealing trading was ahead of budget so far this year.

At the company's AGM today (29 November), chairman Glenn Cooper said the brewer was in a strong position to generate further growth in profit and sales in 2005/06. "Our financial position is strong, our market share is growing," he told investors.

"This unique position has become enormously attractive to other manufacturers, which is stating the obvious given the events of the past couple of months. Our trading results for the current year ... are sitting slightly ahead of budget for revenue in the first four months."
Cooper said the brewer would continue to fight Lion's A$420m (US$309.7m) takeover offer, which Coopers hopes its shareholders can vote on at an EGM on 7 December. This meeting, originally scheduled for today, was restrained by the Australian takeover panel, which said that it would have no objection to the EGM being held in conjunction with the further EGM, also scheduled for 7 December - to vote on a proposed buyback of shares - provided Coopers issues a corrective statement, approved by the panel, giving Coopers shareholders sufficient time to consider the corrective statement before the Constitution EGM.

"I am not able to say much on this as Lion has funded or instigated both court and Takeovers Panel proceedings on this issue," Cooper added.

If investors vote in favour of removing Lion's pre-emptive rights to buy Coopers shares at next week's meeting, Lion's bid will be effectively ended.