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Foster’s review may lead to acquisitions and sales

Drinks giant Foster’s is considering buying, and selling, assets as part of a six-month review of its troubled wine business.

The review was announced in June when Foster’s revealed a AUS$700m (£325m) write-down of its Australian wine assets and CEO, Trevor O’Hoy, resigned.

In reporting Foster’s 2007-08 financial results yesterday, new boss David Crawford neither confirmed nor denied that the company was looking to get rid of, or acquire assets.

He revealed that some shareholders said this would be a ‘lousy time to dispose of assets’, and a ‘great time to acquire assets’.

Crawford was guarded about the progress of the review but also said that emerging beer and wine markets were key issues being examined.

The total net profit of AUS$111m (£51m) was 88% less than in 2006-07.

The company’s overall results were brought down by the wine division, particularly in Australia-Pacific and the Americas, which were hit by the increasing value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar, as well as a decline in export volume.

‘Put simply, financial returns from wine have not met our expectations,’ said Foster’s Chief Executive Ian Johnston.

Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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