Lion takes the drinks share

Posted by Janice Wong on 11th May 2010

After a solid start to the financial year, Lion Nathan looks strong against drinks giant and leading rival Foster’s after posting an almost 7 per cent rise on the prior corresponding period.

Kirin, which now owns Lion Nathan, National Foods and Dairy Farmers declared Lion’s Australian and New Zealand business delivered revenue of $687 million for the three months to the end of December, a growth of 6.6 per cent compared to the same period one year ago.

According to The Australian, this result compared with a 4.7 per cent rise in net sales revenue at Foster’s Australian beer division and a 6.9 per cent fall for Foster’s Australian and New Zealand wine business in the first half of the financial year.

A focus on premium beers helped increases in both revenue and volume, which rose by 8 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

Chief Executive Officer of Lion Nathan National Foods Rob Murray said thanks to the company’s investment in brands, breweries and staff in recent years, the business is now “strong and agile”.

XXXX Gold, the second biggest selling beer in Australia behind Foster’s VB brand, continued to grow strongly, while Hahn Super Dry also had a particularly strong summer and new additions XXXX Summer Bright Lager and Hahn Super Dry 3.5 beers performed ahead of expectations.

Wine, which contributes to less that 1 per cent of the group’s profits remains “very challenging with the global slowdown combined with an oversupply of grapes putting downward pressure on pricing in domestic and international markets”, Mr Murray concluded.