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Foster's denies takeover rumours

By Chris Mercer , 30-Aug-2006

Australian beer and wine group Foster's said it was unaware of any takeover interest, after shares soared Tuesday amid rumours that multinational brewers were circling to buy the group.

"The company is not aware of any proposals that may lead to a takeover, and no approaches to that end have been made," said Foster's, in a statement released to the Australian stock exchange.Foster's share price rocketed to its highest level this year on Tuesday, amid speculation that international brewers SABMiller and InBev were considering bids for their Australian rival. Foster's said it had no explanation for the share price rise other than the release of its full year results on Tuesday.The group reported net sales up 24.5 per cent for the year, with net profits up nearly 27 per cent. Most of the gains were thanks to high single-digit growth for the Fostser's brand around the world, as well as another solid performance on Australia's alcoholic drinks market. There has, however, been a slow start for the group's 'brand Australia' wine business, formed after it bought Southcorp last year. Foster's said it had spent to year integrating Southcorp to achieve the biggest cost savings. It predicted it would see a jump in global wine sales in 2007, and used the results conference to unveil the re-launch of its Rosemount brand. The group also said plans were in place to cope with the Australian wine glut, which has seen prices crash in some parts of the industry.

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