Foster’s CEO defends plans to grow market share

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Foster’s Chief Executive John Pollaers on Friday defended his plans to grow market share in a declining Australian beer market, as the brewer fends off a $10.4 billion bid by world No.2 SABMiller .

“Foster’s Group is an exciting new enterprise with a bright future,” Pollaers told a business lunch as the brewer relaunched its beer business with a tweak to the brand name.

Foster’s beer business will be called Carlton United Brewers, a change from the original Carlton & United Breweries, in what Pollaers said was a renewed focus on beer following the split from the wine unit, Treasury Wine Estates .

Foster’s rejected SABMiller’s A$9.5 billion ($10.4 billion) offer last month as too low and refused to engage in talks with the predator.

Reporting its first-quarter earnings last week, SABMiller, the maker of Miller Lite, Grolsch and Peroni, kept the market guessing if it will sweeten its bid

Foster’s, one of the last big prizes in a consolidating global beer market, has high margins and a 50 percent market share in Australia, where it brews the Victoria Bitter, Crown and Pure Blonde brands.