Australia takeovers body dismisses SABMiller claim on Foster's

City A.M. Reporter
Australia's takeovers watchdog has rejected efforts by brewing giant SABMiller to force a review of the financial statements of Foster's, which is battling a $10bn hostile takeover.

The Takeovers Panel dismissed SABMiller's claims that Foster's had made "misleading and deceptive" statements in its full-year results announcement last month after the brewer clarified its debt position.

SABMiller had hoped to rattle the target's takeover defence by casting doubt on the company's financial statements, according to analysts.

The UK-based brewer said it accepted the panel's ruling and was pleased that the target had clarified its debt position.

Foster's dismissed the claims by its suitor.

"It was pretty clearly frivolous and petty," a Foster's spokesman said of the application to the panel.

The panel said while it did have some concerns about Foster's net debt statement this had since been clarified.

"The panel concluded there was no reasonable prospect that it would make a declaration of unacceptable circumstances in relation to the financial objectives statements," the panel said in a statement released to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Foster's released details of its submission to the panel, saying it had booked a deferred tax asset of A$447.5m (£297m) which reflected its success in a tax case.

SABMiller is expected to send out its formal offer document this month.