- Turkey laps up Foster`s after lifting foreign beer ban -
Aussie backpackers travelling to Gallipoli on ANZAC Day no longer need to carry beer all the way from home to raise a patriotic toast after Foster`s yesterday unveiled a licensing agreement that will allow a Turkish brewer to produce and market the iconic lager.
Leading Turkish brewer Efes Beverage Group will begin distributing Foster`s in March following a recent lifting of restrictions on foreign beers, just in time for the annual influx of slouch-hat-wearing pilgrims.
Efes will conduct its own marketing campaign for Foster`s, but is expected to highlight the Aussie image of the beer in a similar way to Scottish & Newcastle Brewers, which has the licence for Britain and western Europe.
Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, Turkey is a secular democracy and its tolerant attitude to alcohol has seen its beer consumption increase by 20per cent over the past five years, with the fastest growth seen among international brands.
Turks drink an average of 11 litres of beer each every year -- only 10 per cent of Australian per capita consumption. However, the overall market of 800 million litres a year is comparable to that of Belgium or Austria.
Foster`s has forecast annual market growth of 10 per cent until 2009, while the premium beer segment is expected grow from 19per cent of the market to about 40per cent.
Efes, a subsidiary of the diversified Turkish industrial Anadolu Group, supplies over 80 per cent of the Turkish beer market and has brewing interests in Kazakhstan, Serbia and Romania.
The licensing deal followed a similar agreement in November with Russia`s Baltika Breweries, which began delivering Foster`s in early December.
News of Foster`s entry into Turkey came as the company announced its shares would no longer trade on the London Stock Exchange.
Foster`s has maintained a presence on the LSE since 1962, when it took out a secondary listing to allow easier access to foreign capital.
A secondary listing allows for shares to be traded but does not require the company to hold shareholder meetings or lodge financial reports in Britain.
However, the company said the fluidity of global investment flows meant the listing was no longer necessary and the expense could not be justified for the sake of 350 British investors holding just 750,000 shares.
Foster`s shares traded only four times on the LSE during 2004.
British shareholders will be able to sell their stock back to the company until February 21, after which any remaining will become issuer-sponsored shareholders on the Australian Stock Exchange.
by The Australian
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