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AUS/NZ: Buy-back binned as Lion eyes targets

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Lion Nathan has postponed plans to buy back shares worth A$200m (US$155m) as it eyes acquisition targets in Australia and New Zealand.

The Trans-Tasman beer and wine group, which last year missed out on buying RTD producer Independent Liquor, said today (9 February) that it would not go ahead with plans to buy back the shares.

Lion said the plans have been put on hold "for the time being" as it evaluates "corporate development opportunities" in beer, fine wine, spirits and RTDs. The company gave no specific information on any acquisition targets.

Analyst JP Morgan reportedly said today that possible acquisition targets could include Bluetongue Brewery and fellow craft brewer Little World Beverages, in which Lion holds a 34% stake.

Yesterday, Lion posted results from what it called a "solid" first quarter. Sales volumes in Australia rose 3.3% for the three months to 31 December.

In New Zealand, however, Lion said its first-quarter performance was "mixed". Beer volumes dipped 0.7% due to "intense price discounting" and falling on-trade sales.


Sectors: Beer & cider, Spirits, Wine

Companies: Lion Nathan

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