18 Nov 2008

NZ beer market produces rise in profit for Lion Nathan

3:31 pm on 18 November 2008

A resilient New Zealand beer market contributed to a rise in annual operating profit for Lion Nathan. Earnings before tax rose 3.8% to $90 million.

Lion Nathan says its New Zealand business performed well in a highly competitive market and a challenging economic environment.

But the rise in operating profit was offset by the weaker New Zealand dollar.

Lion says the beer market proved resilient here, achieving a small amount of growth, 0.3% in a tough year.

It attributes that to the success of its premium brands, Steinlager Pure and Speights Summit.

However, net sales revenue decreased by 1.5%.

Overall, Lion Nathan's full-year operating profit for its Australian and New Zealand businesses rose 4%.

The results came a day after a $A7.6 billion takeover offer for the Australian arm of Coca-Cola was rebuffed.

Coca-Cola Amatil has says the offer is too low compared to recent acquisitions in the beverage industry, and it will not review the proposal.