Foster's year profit slides as SABMiller hovers

Reuters

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Foster's Group <FGL.AX> posted an 8.7 percent fall in underlying full-year profit, a rare decline reflecting a depressed beer market, weakening the brewer's bargaining position as it fends off a hostile $10 billion takeover offer from SABMiller <SAB.L>.

But Australia's largest brewer also unveiled plans on Tuesday to make a A$500 million ($521 million) share buyback or capital reduction as a sweetener for shareholders, as part of its efforts to get SABMiller to increase its A$4.90 a share offer.

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Net profit before one-off items fell to A$494.9 million. After a loss on the recent demerger of Foster's wine business, Treasury Wine Estates <TWE.AX>, the bottom line sank to a loss of A$89 million.

SABMiller took its offer direct to shareholders last week after Foster's board rejected the approach as significantly under-valuing the company.

Foster's shares closed on Monday at the A$4.90 offer price, indicating investors do not see much pressure on SABMiller to raise its bid significantly. ($1 = 0.959 Australian Dollars)

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Mark Bendeich)

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