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AUS/NZ: Lion Nathan set fair in year so far

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Lion Nathan is toasting a buoyant set of figures for its half-year in spite of rising commodity costs.

The trans-Tasman brewer and wine group said today (17 May) that operating net profit in the six months to the end of March was up by 3.6% year-on-year to A$156.8m (US$129m). Group net sales also rose, by 5.3% to A$1bn.

Company CEO Rob Murray highlighted the impact of "higher commodity costs, primarily in aluminium and sugar as well as the planned investments associated with the company's spirits and RTD strategy".

While Australia delivered an 8% lift in revenues and a 4.7% climb in operating EBIT, a competitive pricing environment hit Lion Nathan's performance in New Zealand, where revenues rose 6.4% while operating EBIT was flat.

Lion Nathan's wine business produced a 26.4% increase in operating EBIT, to A$6.7m, thanks to cost savings and key brand growth. "We will continue to focus on increasing our return on capital through international growth via the Beam Wine Estates and Bibendum alliances," Murray said.

The company has also upped its full-year net profit forecast from A$245m-A$260m to A$250m-A$260m.

Earlier this year, Lion Nathan branched into spirits and RTDs, through the purchase of Inner Circle Rum in Australia.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, local reports claimed Lion Nathan was "considering a range of options" for its brewery in Auckland, New Zealand. Industry sources were cited in reports as saying that two bidders had offered Lion Nathan more than its initial valuation of A$133m.


Sectors: Beer & cider, Spirits, Wine

Companies: Lion Nathan

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