By Andrew Starke
The Foster’s Group has won an appeal against the Australian Tax Office relating to disputed tax assessments in the financing of the Elders Finance Group during the 1980s and 1990s.
On Friday (April 8) the Full Federal Court of Australia delivered judgment in favour of Foster's although the Australian Commissioner of Taxation has the right to apply to the High Court of Australia for special leave to appeal the decision.
The long-running dispute dates back to when John Elliot ran the company with his Elders Finance Group.
Pending any decision by the Commissioner to seek an appeal to the High Court, Foster's does not expect any change in its financial position.
"We welcome the Full Federal Court decision" said Foster's chief financial officer, Tony Reeves.
"We have always been confident of our position and hope that the matter will now be brought to a conclusion".
In the event that the demerger of Foster's proceeds, the potential impact predominately relates to the Beer business and is outlined in the Demerger Booklet dated March 17 2011.
In related news, Foster’s has been notified of a potential $39.5 million claim under an indemnity provided to SABMiller Group in relation to Foster’s former brewing business in India now owned by SABMiller.
The potential claim relates to a notice of demand issued by the Director of Income Tax in India to SABMiller for tax and interest.
In a statement Foster’s said it is confident of the positions that were taken in relation to Indian tax.
“Those positions will be defended vigorously in the Indian Courts,” the statement said.
Foster's shares were trading at $5.74 at 11am today (April 11), slightly down from $5.79 seven days ago.