Rich pickings: Treasury expects its premium wines to boost profits in the second half. Photo: Jim Rice
TREASURY Wine Estates chief executive David Dearie is confident the winemaker can turn around a 20 per cent earnings slide in the first half as price increases across its premium wines and promotional activities bolster the bottom line.
Mr Dearie said yesterday after Treasury's annual meeting that the company would have a greater supply of premium wines on hand to sell into its key global markets during the second half, driving sales and profitability into the new calendar year.
The earnings boost will be essential after Treasury warned that following a slow start to the first quarter and tough trading conditions in North America it expected first-half earnings before interest, tax and SGARA (an accounting treatment for agricultural assets) to be 20 per cent down on last year.
But Mr Dearie believes he can resuscitate the fortunes of the world's biggest pure-play wine company next year, to produce earnings growth for the full year in the mid single-digit range.
''The second half has always been a big half for us and we are forecasting it always will be. Two big trading periods for us are the Christmas period, October to December, and you have a lot of holidays in there like Thanksgiving in the US and Halloween,'' Mr Dearie said.
''A lot of high-end luxury wines will be released in the second half and we also take price increases in February, and with some of the brands we will have more luxury wines this year than we had last year.''
Prices of Penfolds wines will increase. A new range of Penfolds wines will be released in the final quarter.
However, many investors saw the 20 per cent slide in first-half earnings and guidance of single-digit growth for the year as a profit downgrade and the shares closed 40¢, or 7.3 per cent, weaker at $5.10.
At the release of Treasury's full-year results earlier this year the company said that EBITS for financial 2013 would be below the average of the past two financial years on a constant currency basis.
Mr Dearie said the earnings update was not a downgrade.
Earlier at the shareholders meeting the remuneration report recorded a 20 per cent ''no'' vote from investors, just short of the 25 per cent required to notch up a ''first strike'' and then spill of the board under new AGM rules.