SABMiller accuses Foster’s of deception

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th September 2011

Multinational brewer SABMiller has accused Australian brewing giant Foster’s Group Limited of making “misleading” and “deceptive” statements in its recently published end-of-year results. It is the latest clash between the two breweries, with SABMiller continuing its drive to purchase Foster’s Group Limited.

In a submission to Federal Government’s Takeovers Panel, SABMiller accuses Foster’s of having “no reasonable basis for several forward-looking statements” in the results presentation concerning Foster’s financial performance.

The statement also describes Foster’s depiction of its debt position in the end-of-year report to be “inconsistent with Australian Accounting Standards”.

SABMiller is seeking an announcement from Foster’s to the market (in the form of an explanatory statement approved by it and the Takeovers Panel) clarifying the information it claims is “misleading” and “deceptive”.

On 17 August 2011, SABMiller announced its intention to make a conditional off-market takeover offer for all the issued shares in Foster’s.

A week later, Foster’s announced plans to return A$500 million to its shareholders through a share buyback or capital reduction. This coincided with Foster’s releasing its full year results.

Commenting on SABMiller’s accusation, George Durbridge, Acting Counsel of the Takeovers Panel said, “No decision has been made whether to conduct proceedings. The Takeovers Panel makes no comment on the merits of the application.”

If the Takeovers Panel decides to conduct proceedings, the matter will usually conclude approximately 2-3 weeks after the application is made.