By Andy Young
Lion has announced its earnings and profits for the year ended 30 September 2016, as part of the Kirin Holdings announcement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
The Lion Group delivered operating earnings before interest and tax of $694.3m, consistent with the prior earnings of $694.6m. Operating net profit after tax rose $11.7m to $280.1m in the current year.
Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said that despite low consumer confidence the group will increase its focus on its core Lion and Kirin brands and that the craft beer market remains a key focus for the brewer.
“Lion’s solid performance in what is a highly competitive global and domestic marketplace highlights the underlying strength of our core business and reflects our ongoing investment in brands and innovation,” said Irvine.
“While consumer confidence remains fragile I am confident Lion Beer Australia will continue to make good progress and the conclusion of Lion’s distribution agreement with AB InBev, means Lion will be able to increase its focus on its core Lion and Kirin portfolio of strong brands as well as driving the beer category as a whole through our Beer, the Beautiful Truth campaign.
“The high-value craft beer segment remains a key focus and success for Lion, both here and abroad. James Squire and Little Creatures are delivering solid growth and the acquisitions we have made this year in both Australian and New Zealand will only increase this momentum. We are now also taking these brands across the region opening Little Creatures Bars in Hong Kong and Shanghai with further expansion planned for the year ahead.”
Late last year Lion sold its premium wine business, Fine Wine Partners, to Accolade in order to focus investment on its core category of beer.
And in its statement regarding the results, the company said: “Lion’s core beer business remains strong and will benefit from renewed focus and investment in FY17.”
The statement added: “During the year, Lion continued to invest in the health of the beer category through its Beer, The Beautiful Truth campaign. While the Australian beer market benefited from this and grew slightly off the back of warmer weather in key states, Lion’s portfolio performed slightly behind the market in volume terms.
“Lion’s craft brands are continuing to perform strongly with both James Squire and Little Creatures posting solid growth. Building on this momentum, Lion acquired Byron Bay Brewery and will build a new micro-brewery to rekindle the Eumundi brand at the Imperial Hotel, where the much-loved Queensland beer was first crafted in 1988.”
The company also highlighted that it has a “clear 10-year strategy” to reinvigorate its beer markets and contribute to vibrant responsible drinking cultures.