By Andrew Starke

Lion Nathan National Foods (LNNF) has announced its financial results for the first half of the 2010 financial year in conjunction with Kirin Holdings’ first half announcement.

The liquor side of the business in Australia, Lion Nathan delivered operating earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $329.1 million, an increase of 7.2 percent.

A solid performance from Lion Nathan Australia (LNA) underpinned this result with net sales revenue growing by 8.1 percent to $899 million, while volumes increased by 3.4 percent in a relatively flat beer market.

This result was aided by the timing of Easter early in the second half, which supported strong volumes toward the end of March.

A Lion Nathan spokesperson said the company’s ‘power brand portfolio’ continued to grow its share of portfolio mix and now represents 83 percent of total volume.

XXXX Gold, Australia’s second largest beer, recorded impressive growth and Hahn Super Dry also had a strong summer.

The company said new innovations XXXX Summer Bright Lager and Tooheys Extra Dry 5 Seeds had performed ahead of expectations.

The Boag’s portfolio continues to grow, benefiting from the reach of Lion Nathan’s route to market and a significant increase in marketing investment.

“Our alcohol businesses delivered a solid first half performance against the backdrop of increasingly challenging market conditions,” said LNNF CEO, Rob Murray. “Consumers continue to trade up to more premium brands and this is driving solid revenue growth.”

“It’s well documented that rising interest rates and the ongoing economic uncertainty have had an impact across the FMCG and retail sectors in both Australia and New Zealand,” he continued.

“While the alcohol market tends to be relatively robust in most economic circumstances, following a period of growth over the last two years, the Australian beer market has seen some softening in volumes and this has continued into the second half of the year.”

The Shout Team

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

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