Fosters struggles as Lion Nathan roars

Foster's struggles as Lion Nathan roars

Foster's has continued to lose beer market share in Australia during the three months to the end of April, according to AC Nielsen figures.

The company's leading Victoria Bitter brand fell to 15% of the market by value in April, from 17% a year earlier.

However, Carlton Draught rose from 13% to 14% market share and Corona, which Foster's distributes in Australia, also grew by one percentage point to 5%.

The low-carb Pure Blonde continued to decline, with sales down 14% by value in April compared to 12 months earlier.

Overall beer sales by volume were down by 3%, the second straight month of decline, although prices were up by 4%.

Foster's total share of the beer market was 50%, down from 55% in 2005.

Lion Nathan, which accounts for 40% market share, saw its Toohey's New brand decline to 13% in April compared to 14% a year earlier, while its XXXX brand grew from 11 to 12%.

Pacific Beverages, a joint venture between Coca-Cola Amatil and SABMiller, saw sales rise 26% by value but market share remained at just 1%.

Speculation has grown on possible bids for Foster's beer business after the group announced last week it would demerge its beer and wine arms.