Lion Nathan said it remained confident of delivering a net profit of A$180m for 2002-03 .

However, the Aussie beer and wine producer conceded that during its the quarter ended December 31, 2002, its core beer unit lost some volume and market share despite a slightly stronger beer market in Australia.

The European Union has strongly criticised Russia for a recent move to slap tough curbs on meat imports.

The EU complained Moscow should have consulted the block before taking measures that jeopardised EU exports.