TREASURY Wine Estates says pre-tax earnings this financial year will fall below the 15 per cent growth generated in the past two years, but will then outpace this as the company benefits from a rich grape harvest and flourishing reserves of premium, high-priced wines.
Australia's second-biggest winemaker also said challenges that would sap earnings this year included a shrinking supply of premium wines, a $40 million charge related to new IT and supply systems and working with its distributors in the key North American market which were sitting on bloated inventories.
But Treasury Wine Estates chief executive David Dearie was confident the earnings setback would not spill into 2014 as wines crafted from an excellent 2012 vintage would be ready for sale and cater to the booming consumer interest in higher-priced brands.
''Two very different vintages driving two very different financial outcomes are a reminder of the agricultural influence on both the wine category and our business,'' Mr Dearie said.
Treasury Wine Estates, which owns a portfolio including Wolf Blass, Penfolds and Lindeman's, yesterday reported full-year profit after tax and before one-off items was $135.5 million. The result, its first full-year numbers since splitting from Foster's, was slightly ahead of analyst expectations.
Revenue for the year fell 5.6 per cent to $1.64 billion as the company walked away from some segments of the market, particularly in Britain where it refused to cut its prices to chase volumes. Pre-tax earnings in the Americas fell 11.6 per cent and Mr Dearie said the company mistakenly pushed through price increases across all its brands.
The company declared a final dividend of 7¢ a share.