The CEO of Lion Nathan, the Australian beer and winemaker, Gordon Cairns, has said that he expects the company's Chinese operations to breakeven for the year ended September 30 2003.

"We committed to the market this year that we would not lose money, so we would be at break even at a cashflow level, so no loss of money, no make money, and I'm very confident we will be able to meet our guidance for this year (ended September 30, 2003)," he said.

He said volumes in the country had gown about 30% in the year.

Speaking to journalists at the Australia-Israel chamber of Commerce, Cairns also said he hoped to breakeven at accounting level in 2004 and over the next seven years "make money in China".

In an address to the Australia-Israel chamber of Commerce, Cairns said Lion Nathan had lost roughly A$100m since entering the Chinese market seven years ago.

He confirmed Lion Nathan was still on track for a net profit of A$180m in the year to September 30.