Early summer completion for S&N takeover

19 February, 2008

Carlsberg and Heineken’s intended takeover of Scottish & Newcastle is likely to be finalised before the end of June, according to chief executive John Dunsmore.

Speaking at S&N’s full-year financial results conference held today, Dunsmore said: “Scheme documents will be published in the next few weeks, with completion in the second quarter. In the meantime, it remains very much business as usual.”

In his opening comments to City analysts, Dunsmore said “this feels like turning up to your own funeral six weeks before your death”, indicating the deal may go through as early as April.

Last month, Scottish & Newcastle’s board recommended its shareholders accept a 800p-per-share offer from the Carlsberg/Heineken consortium.

In its full-year results, S&N said its “input costs” – the price of raw materials, packaging and utilities – had gone up 8.5 per cent and price rises in the UK were likely.

Total sales in the UK for the 12 months to Dec 31 were flat with revenue down 7.8 per cent, with on-trade sales suffering most. Globally, S&N’s sales grew by 7.9 per cent to £4,159m, but pre-tax profits were flat at £444m.

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I would like to think my outlook on things is generally optimistic. Perhaps that’s a natural consequence of working with something designed to give pleasure. But recently it has become increasingly difficult to ignore a creeping sense of negativity pervading the British wine trade.

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