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Lion NZ says 2017 sales climb 4.3%

Lion NZ says 2017 sales climb 4.3% with growth in craft beer, mainstream brands

By Jonathan Underhill

May 18 (BusinessDesk) - Lion - Beer, Spirits & Wine (NZ), the local unit of Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, says 2017 revenue climbed 4.3 percent and volumes grew 3.2 percent, helped by sales of craft beers, mainstream brands and non-alcoholic drinks.

Net sales rose to $585 million from $561 million in 2016, the Auckland-based brewer and winemaker said in a statement. The figures were adjusted for a 12-month period because its financial statements lodged with the Companies Office is for a 15-month period to Dec. 31, reflecting a change of balance date.

Profit in the 15-month period was $75.6 million from $38.7 million in the preceding 12 months. On a simple pro-rata basis, the 15-month result suggests a 12-month profit of $60.1 million, still a 55 percent gain. Lion "continued to experience cost pressures due to commodity price increases and fluctuations in the NZ dollar," the company said in a statement.

New Zealand's largest alcoholic beverage company sells beer, cider, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink (RTDs) products and owns beer brands including Lion Red, Lion Brown, Steinlager and Speight's, along with the rights to international brands such as Corona, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Guinness. It also sells Lindauer, Daniel Le Brun and Wither Hills wines. Its spirits include Gordons and Bombay Sapphire gin, Johnnie Walker whiskey, Wild Turkey bourbon, Coruba and Bacardi rum, Smirnoff and 42 Below vodka. Outside of liquor, it has the Vitasoy plant-based milk range and Yoplait yoghurt brand and various soda brands.

Lion has been diversifying its portfolio, acquiring Upper Hutt-based Panhead brewery in 2016 to add to the Dunedin-based Emerson's Brewing Co it acquired in 2012, increasing its exposure to the fast-growing craft beer segment. In 2017 it launched its Good Patron coffee brand and acquired 25 percent of Tauranga’s Good Buzz Beverage Co to tap growing demand for fermented drinks. Lion will help Good Buzz scale up its Kombucha range, Lion NZ managing director Rory Glass said. Lion also launched a low-carb version of its Speight's Sumit Ultra beer and launched Lindauer sparkling grape juice.

"We’re really proud of the work we’ve done on the innovation front and on diversifying our offering across alcohol and alcohol-free categories to meet changing consumer needs," Glass said in a statement.

Lion said it had also set an industry first by agreeing to pay suppliers within 30 days of receipt of invoice, the company said.

(BusinessDesk)

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