Melbourne/London: Australia on Friday approved global brewer SABMiller plc’s bid to acquire the Australian beer major, Foster’s Group, on condition that the key operations of the company would remain in the country.
“The government welcomes foreign investment in Australia and continues to ensure that investments are consistent with Australia’s national interest,” the Australian federal treasurer Wayne Swan said in a statement.
The Australian government also approved SABMiller’s acquisition of remaining 50% of Pacific Beverages Pty Limited, currently owned by Coca-Cola Amatil.
London-based SABMiller has agreed to various undertakings, under which the management of Foster’s operations will continue to be located in Australia under SABMiller ownership.
Besides, SABMiller would not relocate any of Foster’s existing brewing facilities offshore to produce beer for Australian domestic consumption and would continue to invest in Foster’s iconic Australian brand portfolio.
These undertakings recognise the significance of Foster’s to the Australian economy, and to its community, and support Australian jobs, Swan said.
Commenting on the undertakings, SABMiller said in a separate statement that “given the local nature of Foster’s brewing business and its focus on Australian customers, these undertakings are consistent with our current intentions for the business, and will not affect our ability to integrate Foster’s and PacBev or to compete effectively in Australia.”
“I have taken into account SABMiller’s plans to strengthen Foster’s brand portfolio and work with its local employees to bring its global scale and expertise to the business,” treasurer Swan said.
He further added that SABMiller intended to keep Foster’s operational employees in their existing roles on the same or substantially similar conditions.
The treasurer’s approval of the transaction marks the final regulatory condition to be satisfied ahead of the shareholder upcoming meeting scheduled for 1 December, 2011.
SABMiller expects the acquisition to be completed before the end of this year pursuant to the shareholders’ nod.
Foster’s had agreed in September to a cash offer from SABMiller of $5.10 Australian per share, which values the Australian entity’s equity at about $9.9 billion Australian.
The deal, once complete, would give SABMiller exposure to the growing Australian beer industry, as well as help in boosting the financial and operating performance of Foster’s.
Foster’s popular brands include Carlton Draught, Corona, Crown Lager, Pure Blonde, Carlton Mid and Carlton Dry.
Both the companies -- SABMiller and Foster’s -- have a significant presence in India.