By Andy Young
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has once again delayed its decision on AB InBev’s proposed takeover of SABMiller.
The delay comes just after SABMiller issued its financial report for the 2015 financial year, which showed a “strong year and increased momentum”.
Earlier this week the ACCC announced it was delaying its decision on the takeover, “at the request of the merger parties to allow them to provide more information”. The commission went on to say that a new decision date will be provided once it has received all the relevant information from the merger parties.
The ACCC commenced its review of the proposed takeover in January this year and is looking at the impact of the deal on the Australian market. In particular it is looking at the impact of the Australian distribution for Corona, which would return to SABMiller-owned Carlton and United Breweries from Lion, if the deal goes ahead.
AB InBev has already agreed to several deals around the world in order to gain regulatory approval in different markets.
The ACCC delay came as SABMiller issued its full-year financial reports, which showed general profit and volume growth, although the group as a whole was hit by foreign exchange transactions. Group net profit ratio (NPR) for the full year grew by five per cent, with volume growth of two per cent. However on a reported basis, group NPR fell by five per cent for the final quarter and by eight per cent for the full year.
In a statement the company said this NPR decline was “due to the adverse translational impact on our results of the depreciation of our key operating currencies against the US dollar.”
Alan Clark, Chief Executive of SABMiller, added: “We have had a strong year and increased momentum in the second half across all our regions notwithstanding economic volatility and the potential distraction of the AB InBev offer.
“Our results reflect our strategy to expand the beer category and to grow and premiumise our diverse brand portfolios.”
For Australia SABMiller reported: "Group NPR grew by four per cent. Volumes were marginally up on the prior year, with improved momentum in the second half of the year, up three per cent.
"NPR per hl growth of three per cent was driven by price realisation and positive brand mix. Premium segment growth was led by Great Northern in our contemporary portfolio, together with sustained double digit growth of the Peroni and Yak franchises.
"Our mainstream brands Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught continued to decline, partially mitigated by the strong performance of Carlton Dry."