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Falling beer sales dent Foster’s result

Foster's Group has blamed falling beer sales and the strength of the Australian dollar for a drop in its half-year profit.
The brewer made just over $312 million in the six months to the end of December, down 12 per cent on its profit for the same period the year before.
The group's chief executive, Ian Johnston, says the Australian beer market has underperformed this year, which may be due to the unwinding of government stimulus measures.
"The emergence of a more subdued consumer environment and exceptional weather conditions reduced volume in the first half," he said.
"This was exacerbated as the market measures itself against unusually high beer market volume in the previous period that benefited from stimulus payments and lower interest rates."
The company is separating its beer and wine businesses and it expects the de-merger process to be completed by May.
Mr Johnston says the move will be good for both of the individual entities.
"Two years on from this wine strategic review, we are a very different company," he said.
"As a board and a management team we are convinced that the wine and beer businesses are in the right shape to take the next natural step in this transformation. The de-merger is a catalyst for an even better performance."
Shareholders will vote on the split in April, to receive one share in the new wine business for every three Foster's shares they currently own.

15 Feb. 2011

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