24 Aug 2010

Foster's says loss due to wine business writedowns

1:30 pm on 24 August 2010

Australia's biggest brewer, Foster's, has recorded a $A464 million loss due to previously announced write-downs in its wine business, but its underlying earnings have beaten previous forecasts.

In May, the company announced it was writing down $A1.3 billion from the value of its wine business, the ABC reports.

Foster's earnings before interest, tax and one-off write downs was $A1.1 billion, but the company says adverse currency movements meant its net profit before write-offs fell 4.1% to $A711 million.

The firm's beer division, Carlton and United Breweries, reported a 5% increase in earnings to $A904 million.

Foster's shares rose more than 7% on Monday amid speculation London-based brewer SABMiller was interested in the Carlton and United Breweries division, but the company shrugged off the speculation.

The company's wine business recorded earnings of $A221 million, up 20.5% when adjusted for currency fluctuations.

Foster's is planning to demerge its wine business from its beer business in the first half of next year.