By Liam Walsh - Herald Sun (VIC Metropolitan, 18 May
IMPENDING smoking bans in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia
could reduce on-tap beer sales in pubs, brewer Lion Nathan warned
The caution came after Lion Nathan reported bans in Queensland helped
whittle down drinking of on-tap beer in licensed premises by more than 6
While some people were shifting to takeaway beer, the result marks the
latest reported impact of bans.
A fall in gaming giant Tabcorp's revenues was similarly partly linked to
smoking bans affecting casinos.
In its half-year results presentation yesterday, Lion Nathan also warned
of cost increases for aluminium and drought-affected barley crops.
Lion Nathan lifted the bottom-end of operating profit guidance from $245
million to $250 million, saying consistent earnings were being produced.
The upper result would be roughly flat against last year's $257.4 million
Its overall half-year profit of $162 million was up 8.8 per cent and
included a one-off $9.5 million tax gain.
Lion Nathan shares rose 8 to $9.15. Shareholders will receive a 19c fully
franked dividend, the same as in the previous corresponding period.
Australian sales were boosted 8 per cent as Lion Nathan spends an extra
$40 million annually to promote more profitable beers such as XXXX Gold
without getting into a price war with market leader Foster's Group.
In New Zealand, where Lion Nathan is the biggest brewer, earnings fell 4.3
per cent as a lower currency reduced the value of earnings in Australian
Earnings from the wine unit rose 26 per cent to $6.7 million. | End