* Treasury says no talks with Pernod
* Shares at two-month high
(Updates with more detail, comment from Treasury)
SYDNEY May 2 Treasury Wine Estates Ltd
shares jumped more than 14 percent on Friday after French liquor
giant Pernod Ricard SA reportedly said it was
interested in buying the Australian company's troubled U.S.
Treasury Wines moved to put a dampener on the report, saying
it had received no approach from and was not in discussions with
The shares pulled back after the company's response from a
high of A$4.38, but were still up 5.7 percent at A$4.06, a
two-month high, at 02:25 GMT.
Treasury's U.S. businesses, which include Beringer and
Stag's Leap, have been a major drag on its performance with the
company earlier this year slicing nearly a fifth off its
full-year profit forecast.
"This morning's market reaction suggests the market would be
happy with them being sold and looking that those assets would
be more valuable in the hands of another operator," said Ric
Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
Jean-Christophe Coutures, chief of Pernod Ricard Winemakers,
was reported by the Australian Financial Review as saying that
he would be interested in buying the U.S. assets.
Treasury Chief Executive Mike Clarke last month said the
company's U.S. business was too important to give up, despite
suffering a series of writedowns including a A$160 million
($148.36 million) hit on excess inventory that last year led the
company to destroy millions of gallons of cheap wine and cost
his predecessor David Dearie his job.
Treasury in January cut its operating earnings forecast to
between A$190 million to A$210 million from a previous range of
A$230 million to A$250 million. First-half earnings would be in
the range of A$42 million to A$46 million, compared to A$73.4
million a year ago, it said.
($1 = 1.0785 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Thuy Ong and Jane Wardell; Editing by Paul Tait
and Matt Driskill)