E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: Australia: Lion Nathan says has arrangements for 2.2 pct of Coopers

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E-Malt.com News article: Australia: Lion Nathan says has arrangements for 2.2 pct of Coopers
Brewery news

Australia's second-largest brewer Lion Nathan Ltd. said on November 2 it had entered into arrangements that would deliver it 2.2 % of unlisted target Coopers Brewery Ltd., according to Reuters. Its latest bidders statement offered clarification after the company previously indicated it had support from 11 shareholders who have or claim an interest in 10.7 percent of Coopers.

Lion Nathan is bidding A$352 million ($260 million), or A$260 a share for the South Australian brewer and has entered into some pre-bid arrangements that would allow it to buy shares subject to pre-emptive rights held by others.

In the statement, Lion Nathan said the 10.7 percent included a holding of 8.5 percent of the total share capital in Coopers which is the subject of contested probate proceedings in the South Australian Supreme Court. "These shares are not currently the subject of any pre-bid agreements with Lion Nathan," the company said.

The company said its bid was due to close on Feb. 26, unless extended. But it said it would need to receive transfer notices from Coopers shareholders by 7:00 p.m. Adelaide time (0830 GMT) on Dec. 20 to allow for pre-emptive rights arrangements to operate.

Existing Coopers shareholders have first-tier pre-emptive rights in the sale of shares, while superannuation interests hold second-tier rights, ahead of Lion Nathan which is third in line.

Some Coopers shareholders are seeking an extraordinary meeting to remove Lion Nathan's rights, which would effectively end the bid if it was supported by a 75 percent majority vote.

Lion Nathan, 46 percent owned by Japan's Kirin Brewery Co. , will release its profit for the year ended Sept. 30 on Wednesday next week.

The company will next year report under the new Australian equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards (AIFRS), which it said would reduce the value of its net assets by A$1.7 billion ($1.3 billion).

The company said the major impact from the new standards would be on the accounting of acquired and internally developed brands.

"This is a non-cash accounting adjustment and shareholders can be assured that this does not affect the value of the brands or the company's other assets," Chief Financial Officer Jamie Tomlinson said in a statement.

The company said under the new standards its profit for the half-year to March 31, 2005 was restated to A$135.4 million, from A$127.6 million, reflecting the elimination of goodwill amortisation.

Lion Nathan shares closed up 0.3 percent at A$7.90 on Wednesday in a wider market down 0.4 percent. ($1=A$1.35)

04 November, 2005

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