SYDNEY Feb 20 Australia's Treasury Wine Estates
Ltd, the world's second-largest winemaker, said on
Thursday first-half earnings fell 37.6 percent as business costs
grew and sales volumes dipped globally.
Operating earnings for the six months ended Dec. 31 totaled
A$45.8 million ($41.37 million), down from A$73 million last
The result came in at the top end of the A$42 million to
A$46 million range the company provided in January when it
issued a profit warning.
Treasury Wine, which owns the Penfolds and Beringer labels,
has been considered a takeover target since it warned that weak
demand in China and tough competition would drag down annual
earnings by a fifth, prompting a share selloff.
Treasury Wine said on Wednesday total sales volume was 15.26
million cases, down 7.5 percent on the prior corresponding
period, driven principally by lower volume in the Americas,
Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Interim net profit rose to A$106.2 million from A$45 million
previously, but that included an A$80.5 million tax benefit
based on changes to "relative market values".
Treasury shares closed at A$3.70 on Wednesday, having fallen
a fifth since the January profit warning.
($1 = 1.1071 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye, editing by Jane Wardell and G Crosse)