August 25, 2014 / 6:01 AM / in 3 years

Australian Vintage signs China wine distribution deal

SYDNEY, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Australian Vintage Ltd, the maker of McGuigan Wines, said on Monday it had signed a distribution deal with a Chinese company aimed at boosting its sales in a rapidly growing market.

Australian Vintage did not disclose the value of the deal it signed with China’s COFCO Wine & Spirits CO Ltd.

“There is currently an opportunity for Australian wine in China, and it’s one of the most exciting emerging markets for the global wine industry,” AVL CEO Neil McGuigan said in a statement.

At 0536 GMT, AVL shares were up 2.56 percent in low volumes at A$0.4 each. Its shares are down 9 percent so far this year.

A global wine glut coupled with weak demand from major economies has driven wine makers to target China and other emerging markets to boost sales.

AVL, which has a market capitalisation of $84.2 million, posted a 22 percent increase in net profit for the first half-ended December and expected 2014 year to be “significantly better” than last year.

It is expected to more than double net profit to A$9.1 million ($8.48 million) for the year-ended June, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

China consumed about 17 million hectolitres of wine last year, Paris-based International Vine and Wine organisation OIV estimated, slightly lower than the previous year after a decade of rapid growth. (1 US dollar = 1.0733 Australian dollar) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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