By Andrew Starke

Lion Nathan’s shareholders yesterday (Sep 17) gave the trans-Tasman brewer the green light to be bought out by Japanese brewing giant Kirin.

The decision means Lion Nathan will ultimately delist from the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and be merged with Kirin’s Australian dairy products, food and juice business, National Foods.

The new entity will be known as Lion Nathan National Foods with Lion Nathan CEO, Rob Murray, now heading up Kirin’s local operations.

Kirin’s Australasian operations will be run out of Lion Nathan’s head office in Sydney and National Foods Group’s current head office in Melbourne.

The bid was enthusiastically passed by shareholders with 91.9 percent of those voting in favour of Kirin acquiring the 54 percent of Lion Nathan shares that it did not already own. Kirin did not vote.

In his address to shareholders before the vote, Lion chairman, Geoff Ricketts, said the company had come a long way in the past decade and would remain a ‘great Australasian company’.

"The ownership does move to a hundred percent Kirin but they demonstrated over 10 years that they’re prepared to invest in the business and employ good people,” he said. “So the company will carry on.”

Lion Nathan is Australia’s second biggest brewer, with brands including XXXX, Tooheys, Boag’s, James Squire, Heineken, Beck’s and Hahn.

Lion Nathan National Foods will be Australia’s largest food and drinks group, employing over 10,000 people.

Lion Nathan shares were trading at $11.95 at midday today (Sep 18), up from $11.91 seven days ago.

The Shout Team

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

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