Australia's Treasury Wine H1 profit falls 23 pct

SYDNEY Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:14pm EST

SYDNEY Feb 28 (Reuters) - Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, the world's second-largest wine company, posted a 23 percent fall in its first-half profit on Thursday, dragged down by falling sales in the United Kingdom, higher costs and a poor vintage.

Treasury Wine, the maker of Penfolds, Beringer and Wolf Blass, said its first-half net profit after tax before one-off items was A$45.0 million ($45.9 million), compared with A$58.6 million a year earlier.

Last October, Treasury Wine warned its first-half earnings would slide 20 percent, blaming poor weather for denting production of premium wines and higher corporate costs.

Earnings before interest and tax was down 20 percent to A$73.4 million from a year ago.

Treasury Wine has been losing market shares in the key U.S. market to larger rival Constellation Brands.

It is moving away from cheaper, less profitable wines in the UK and Europe to target consumers developing a taste for premium wines in China and other emerging markets such as India, Brazil and Russia.

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