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AUS: Foster's Group wins tax dispute as demerger dawns

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The new-look Foster's Group could receive an early windfall after the company announced that it has won a long-running tax dispute against Australia's Government.

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Australia's tax commissioner will not appeal to the country's High Court in order to pursue its tax case against Foster's, said the drink maker today (9 May). The news is a significant boost for the group, which today also lodged papers to split its business with the the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

If Foster's had lost the case, it could have owed hundreds of millions of dollars. However, following victory in Australia's Federal Court last month, the Victoria Bitter brewer now stands to recoup AUD256.7m (US$276.7m) already paid out, plus interest.

The dispute related to monies owed as part of the financing of the Elders Finance Group in the 1980s and 1990s.

Separately, Foster's said today that its global wine arm, Treasury Wine Estates, will begin trading as an independent company from tomorrow (10 May), on a deferred settlement basis. The group expects to officially complete the demerger of its wine and beer businesses by 20 May and already has the blessing of shareholders.


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