Foster's Group (now Foster's Group Pty. Ltd.) was an Australian beer group with interests in brewing and soft drinks. Foster's Group Limited was based in Melbourne, Victoria and was renamed Carlton & United Breweries prior to sale to British-South African multinational SABMiller in 2011. Foster's Group was the brewer of Foster's Lager. Foster's wine business was split into a separate company, Treasury Wine Estates, in May 2011.
Since 10 October 2016 when Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired the entire SABMiller company, the latter - including its subsidiaries such as Foster's - has been a business division of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV. SABMiller ceased to exist as a corporation. SABMiller also ceased trading on global stock markets. As a result, Foster's Group is now a direct subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV.
It was founded in Melbourne in 1888 by two American brothers William and Ralph Foster of New York, who happened to own a refrigeration plant. Cooling was necessary to brew and store acceptable lagers in Australia's hot climate, unlike the English-style dark ales commonly brewed at the time. They sold the brewery the following year and returned to the United States.
In 1983 Elders IXL, a giant Australian diversified conglomerate, purchased Carlton and United Breweries, and renamed it Elders Brewing Group. Then in 1990, the Elders Brewing Group changed its name to the Foster's Group, to reflect the name of their most internationally recognised product.
In 2005, Foster's Group acquired the Australian wine-making group Southcorp. This acquisition added famous brands such as Penfolds, Lindemans and Rosemount to the Foster's stable and around A$1 billion to revenues.
Foster's Group was acquired by SABMiller plc in December 2011
In May 2011, Foster's Group's Treasury Wine Estates unit was spun off into a separate company. The first day of trading saw its share price soaring, valuing the separate entity at A$2.2 billion.
There had long been speculation that the beer sector or all of Foster's Group will be subject to a takeover by a larger firm. Groups to express such an interest over the years have included Diageo, SABMiller, Molson Coors and Heineken International. In September 2011, the board of Fosters agreed to a takeover bid by SABMiller, valuing the company at A$9.9bn (US$10.2bn; £6.5bn). Foster's Group Limited shares (ASX code: FGL) were suspended from trading on the ASX on 2 December 2011 and delisted from the ASX at close of trading on 20 December 2011.
In 1990, Asahi Breweries acquired a 19.9% stake in Australian brewery giant Elders IXL which later became Foster' s Group.
Foster's Group imports, licenses, and distributes a large number of brands. In Australia, Foster's distributes the Cinzano, Perrier, Skyy vodka, Stella Artois, and 42 Below import brands among many others. While in the United States and Canadian markets, Molson brews and sells Foster's Lager under license.
In August 2008, it was convicted and fined more than $1-million for two breaches of Victoria's Occupational Health and Safety Act which led to the death of a worker in 2006. The prosecution of the company by the Director of Public Prosecutions for WorkSafe Victoria resulted in a call for the company to better report on health and safety in its Annual Report.
Foster's announced yearly results which ended on 30 June 2009. The net sales revenue increases by 2.7% to $4.5 billion. Net profit increases by 4.0% to $741.5m and earnings per share increases by 4.6% to 38.5 cents.
In 2011, Fosters made major losses that including a write down in the value of the wines division to AUD$1.8 billion that at the business' AGM in Melbourne on 29 April 2011, 99% of Fosters Group shareholders agreed to split Fosters Group business into two separate brewing and wines companies. The wines business became Treasury Wine Estates, and was listed on the ASX on 10 May 2011. In a late August 2011 interview the Carlton United Group (Fosters beer division) announced that they would be focusing more on craft beer to meet the change in taste of the Australian drinker.
In 2011, Foster's was acquired by SABMiller; the latter was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV in October 2016.
The company was formerly known as South African Breweries plc and changed its name to SABMiller plc in July 2002.
SABMiller ceased trading on global stock markets last week