By Andrew Starke

Beverage giant Foster’s Group announced yesterday (Jul 30) that it has secured a US$500 million debt facility from Asian banks, almost twice the capacity initially planned for.

The new loan from Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese and Singaporean banks, with both US and Australian dollar components, will be used by Foster’s for general corporate purposes and to maintain liquidity.

The three-year syndicated debt facility is far larger than the $US300 million sought by Foster’s chief financial officer Angus McKay when he visited several Asian cities on a roadshow in May.

The deal follows similar transactions done by Woolworths and Woodside Petroleum earlier this year.

The initial $US300 million facility was more than two times oversubscribed and increased to $US500 million following a review of commitments from Asian banks.

“We are very pleased with the response,” McKay said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). “With strong cashflow characteristics and an outstanding brand portfolio, Foster’s received excellent support from Asian banks.”

“While Foster’s retains substantial existing undrawn facilities, this raising ensures we maintain a strong and diversified medium term committed liquidity position for the group,” he added.

ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ were the mandated lead arrangers and joint book-runners for this debt raising.

Shares in Foster’s, which is set to report its annual profit result on August 25, were trading at $5.40 at 11am today (Jul 31), down from $5.52 seven days ago.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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