Heineken focus on emerging markets, no Foster's comment

AMSTERDAM Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:44pm BST

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The world's third-largest brewer Heineken (HEIN.AS) said its focus outside its home base in Europe is on emerging markets, comments which appeared to rule out a counter-bid for Australia's Foster's Group FGL.AX.

"If you look at our expansion strategy, we see Europe as our home base. Europe is to a large extent mature, profitable, but a very mature market, so you see that the expansion we do outside Europe will be in emerging markets," Heineken's Chief Financial Officer Rene Hooft Graafland told Reuters in an interview.

"To do a mature deal completely outside that base is not making sense. Better spend your money on Mexico, Brazil, or Africa, or Asian markets," he added on Tuesday.

He declined to comment directly on any bid for Foster's.

Earlier, global beer giant SABMiller (SAB.L) launched a cash bid for the Australian brewer valued at A$9.5 billion (6.2 billion pounds), excluding debt, which Foster's rejected but investors predicted Foster's would eventually succumb to a higher offer.

Analysts said the family-controlled Heineken did not have the firepower to mount a counter bid after its joint cash takeover of Scottish and Newcastle in 2008 and last year's all-share acquisition of Mexico's FEMSA Cerveza.

(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Sara Webb)

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