Foster's boss says takeover could expand market

By the Associated Press | September 21, 2011 | 8:35 PM EDT

SYDNEY (AP) — London-based SABMiller's takeover of iconic brewer Foster's Group creates an opportunity for Australian beers to more effectively travel the world, Foster's chief executive John Pollaers said Thursday.

SABMiller said Wednesday that it had won the support of the Foster's board for the takeover after increasing its offer to $10.1 billion.

The deal, subject to approval by shareholders and regulators, would bring Australia's biggest brewer within the portfolio of the world's second-largest brewer by volume.

Pollaers said the takeover provides an opportunity to expand the international market for Foster's beers.

"The opportunity is for those beers to travel the world more effectively now and the opportunity is for our people to have terrific international careers," Pollaers told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"We think this is a terrific offer for the company, having had a very close look at it over the last few months, and it compares very favorably to precedent and transactions of this type," he said.

SABMiller's brands include Grolsch, Peroni and Miller Lite, and it already has rights to the Foster's brand in India and the U.S.

Foster's, which owns seven of the top 10 beer brands in Australia, reported a loss of AU$89 million last year as beer sales fell by 6 percent.

Foster's said in its annual report Wednesday that the decline in the Australian beer market was easing, and that the market should grow again once the current period of economic uncertainty ends.

Foster's shares ended 2 AU cents lower at AU$4.89 on Wednesday before the board's approval of the takeover offer was announced.