Lion sees Australian beer volumes soar 5 per cent

Posted by James Ferre on 16th July 2009

Australia’s second largest brewer has seen their Australian beer division offset headwinds in wine and New Zealand, upon reaffirming guidance for the full year.

Lion Nathan, which is likely to be acquired by major shareholder Kirin Holdings later in the year, said that volumes grew 3 per cent in the nine months to the end of June. Their Australian beer sector led the way, with robust volume growth of 5 per cent. The strength of brands XXXX Gold, Tooheys, Hahn Super Dry and Boag’s Draught was particularly pleasing, the company said.

Lion Nathan Chief Executive Rob Murray is expecting the brewer to post significantly stronger profit figures in 2009 as efficiency initiatives introduced five years ago continue to flow through to the bottom line.

“The investments we made in our business since 2004 have created a stronger and more flexible business,” Mr Murray said. “Our people have remained focussed and it is particularly pleasing that we are on track for a significant profit step up in 2009, despite weaker economic conditions, volatile financial markets and an uncertain outlook for many consumers.”

Lion Nathan agreed to a takeover offer by Kirin in April and has now received the green light from all the relevant competition regulators to proceed with the deal. They still require shareholder approval, which is likely to be forthcoming in October.