News briefs: Bud deal, Fosters and energy drinks

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pepper snapple group Dr pepper snapple group Alcoholic beverage Us

This week, InBev confirms its interest in Budweiser brewer Anheuser
Busch, Foster's plans to shake up its flagging wine division and
the Dr Pepper Snapple Group targets the US energy drink market.

InBev looks to Budweiser InBev has confirmed its interest in acquiring Anheuser-Busch as part of plans to become one of the world's five largest consumer goods makers.

The brewer says that a proposed $65 per share bid for its US-based rival, which manufactures the Budweiser lager brand, would retain the heritage of the group while boosting its international presence.

The combined operations of the group would create a company with a global annual beer output of 460m hectoliters and operating profit of about $10.7bn.

Under the terms of the current proposals, some of Anheuser-Busch's directors would be invited to join the new company while maintaining all of the group's US operations.

Anheuser-Busch said it was currently in the process of reviewing the deal in line with its own long-term business strategies and would deliver its decision in due course.

Foster's rethinks wine strategy Australia-based brewer Foster's says it has lowered its earnings per share expectations by about 3 to 5 percentage points following a difficult second fiscal half for its wine brands in Australia and the Americas.

The company announced it was now in the process of reviewing its current wine strategy, and that it had also accepted the resignation of chief executive officer Trevor O'Hoy.

Foster's said it expects net profits after tax for the 2008 financial year to be about AUS$700m.

While a number of new initiatives that came into place during the third financial quarter of the current financial year were found to be working, the benefits remain behind the group's expectations, Foster's stated.

Since April 2008, the company says it has been undertaking a complete review of its global wine operations endorsed by its entire board.

The review will look at the markets and individual segments that its brands compete in, as part of a bid to maximise profitability of its vintners.

Foster's says the slowing US economy and the current strength of the Australian dollar have hits its operations hard with the company's US distributors cutting their inventories by 1.4m cases over the previous year.

Cadbury spin-off shows venom The recently formed Cadbury-Schweppes spin-off Dr Pepper Snapple Group is launching a new energy drink known as Venom onto the US market.

The drink's launch, which will be served in a 16.9 ounce re-sealable aluminium bottle, comes as the group looks to tap into the growing market for stimulation beverages.

US consumers drank 990m litres of energy drinks during 2006, a 47 per cent increase over the previous year, making the country the largest global market for the product, says analyst Zenith International.

The US consumption rate of the products is expected to more than double by 2011 to eight liters per person, Zenith added.

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