Blog: Chris Brook-CarterO'Hoy Trevor, have you seen these figures?

Chris Brook-Carter | 10 February 2005

With the Southcorp financial revival well under way, pressure is inevitably going to be placed on the Foster's boss Trevor O'Hoy to increase the current hostile takeover bid of A$4.17 a share.

 Southcorp said yesterday that its first half net profit jumped 50% and it brought forward dividend payments as a surprise sweetener to its shareholders, who it asked to ignore all phone calls and correspondence from Foster's until further direction from Southcorp CEO John Ballard.

Foster's may up its bid slightly, but I wouldn't be surprised if that had been in its thinking all along. It will have known that Southcorp was due to post a much-improved set of figures, so I don't expect a new bid to be significantly higher.

 "The underlying numbers aren't inconsistent with our expectation," a spokeswoman for Foster's said. "This and much more is already factored" into the A$4.17-a-share offer, she said.

What Southcorp's figures do prove, however, is that if Foster's is ever to seriously challenge the hegemony of Constellation Brands, it is gunning for Southcorp at the right time. Southcorp is clearly in the process of an encouraging upswing and another year would make it unaffordable to all but the likes of Allied Domecq or Diageo.


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