Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Destroys Excess Wine, Reports Major Loss

  @TBarrabit.barrabi@ibtimes.com on August 21 2014 8:44 AM
Penfolds Wine
Bottles of Penfolds wine are on sale at a wine shop in central Sydney. Reuters

One year after sagging U.S. sales forced Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. (ASX:TWE) to destroy thousands of gallons of wine that had passed its drink-by date, the company said on Thursday that it suffered a massive financial loss in the year through June. The Australian winemaker, which notably produces California’s Beringer brand and owns premier domestic Penfolds, revealed a net loss of A$100.0 million for its 2013/2014 fiscal year ($94 million or £57 million), the BBC reports, a major setback compared to its profit of A$47 million last year. The loss can partially be attributed to A$208.6 million in impairment charges related to the company’s struggles in the United States.

Stiff competition from New Zealand-based wineries has affected Treasure Wine’s domestic sales, the Wall Street Journal reports. Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s ongoing battle against corruption, including gift-giving, has impacted sales in Asia. Treasury Wine's announcement came in the midst of a takeover competition between a pair of private-equity firms. Moreover, shares in the company closed at A$5.20 to match the valuation of each of the two takeover bids. A joint offer from KKR and Rhone Capital and a separate offer from an undisclosed private-equity firm each stand at A$3.4 billion, the Sydney Morning Herald notes.

Despite the winemaker’s struggles and pressure from shareholders to sell, TWE Chief Executive Michael Clarke said that his company is poised to recover. “Despite the interest in our company from external parties we remain absolutely committed to executing our 2015 growth plans and resetting our business,” he said in a statement. “I’m not trying to send any messages about takeover, all I’m trying to do is report on the year.”

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