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Beer outpaces wine at Lion Nathan

Published:  20 May, 2009

Lion Nathan, the Australian-based drinks producer, has reported a jump in profits thanks to increased sales of premium beers.

But the company's wine division struggled, prompting speculation that it may be offloaded by Kirin when the Japanese company completes its expected takeover of the company later this year.

Lion Nathan, whose brands are represented in the UK by Bibendum, has a line-up of brands including Knappstein, Wither Hills, Petaluma and Stonier.

In the six months to March, Lion Nathan's earnings rose 6.9% as the company stole market share from Foster's, its larger rival in the Australian beer market.

But the company's wine earnings - which represent less than 10% of its turnover - slumped by 67% and chief executive Rob Murray said he did not know when the division would recover, blaming the performance on volatile market conditions.