AUS/NZ: Lion Nathan gets green light on Boag buy, brewery build

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Lion Nathan's purchase of Tasmanian brewer J. Boag & Son has taken a step nearer, with the trans-Tasman drinks company gaining informal approval for the acquisition from competition authorities.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared the purchase, from San Miguel Corporation, on an informal basis today (19 December). Lion Nathan, which is 46%-owned by Japan's Kirin Holdings, said last month that it will buy Boag for A$325m (US$302.8m).

The transaction is dependant on Kirin, which holds a 20% stake in San Miguel, purchasing National Foods from San Miguel, also announced last month. Lion Nathan is also awaiting regulatory approval of the transaction from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board, with both of these hurdles set to be cleared by the end of this month.

"Subject to the fulfilment of these conditions, Lion Nathan is expected to assume control of J. Boag & Son in early January 2008," the company said.

At the same time, Lion Nathan said it has been given the go-ahead to begin construction of a new brewery in Auckland, New Zealand. The Overseas Investment Office of New Zealand gave its consent today, meaning work will commence on the facility, which should cost Lion Nathan in the region of A$250m, early next year.

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