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Takeover target Foster’s posts A$89m annual loss as beer sales fall

Australian beer sales fell 6% for the year, in part due to economic uncertainty and severe weather

Australia brewer Foster’s Group, which is the target of a hostile takeover bid by SABMiller, on Tuesday posted an annual loss of 89m Australian dollars (£56m) as beer sales fell.

The brewer also announced it would return A0m to investors through a share buyback. The move comes a week after Foster’s rejected a bn cash takeover offer from London-based rival SABMiller, saying the bid significantly undervalues the company.

Excluding one-time items, the Melbourne-based company reported profit of A4.9m for the 12 months ended 30 June, down 9% from a year earlier.

Australian beer sales fell 6% for the year, in part due to economic uncertainty and severe weather, including a cyclone and major flooding in the country’s north east earlier this year, the brewer said.

“Foster’s expects that the rate of decline in the Australian beer category will moderate in the first half of fiscal 2012,” it said in a statement.

Foster’s declared a dividend of 13.25 cents per share.

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