Treasury Wine Estates Michael Clarke was talking to analysts, following todays FY results

Treasury Wine Estate's Michael Clarke was talking to analysts, following today's FY results

The CEO of Treasury Wine Estates has revealed the company would consider acquisitions of luxury wine assets in the US after admitting its portfolio in the segment is “underdeveloped”.

Earlier today, the group reported a 15% lift in H2 depletions for its 'masstige' (mass prestige) range and a 3% rise for luxury brands in the Americas region, while overall volumes fell in the region. Speaking to analysts following the group's full-year results, Michael Clarke said there had been a “limit” on the amount of high-end wines it had access to in the US.

“Despite growing at an impressive rate, our luxury and masstige portfolio in North America is underdeveloped and I'd like to explore organic and inorganic opportunities to bulk scale in this segment of our portfolio,” Clarke told analysts.

Clarke said the group would also consider an “alliance” in the US to boost its high-end wine offer.

TWE has endured a troubled time in the US, where last year it announced it was destroying old and out-of-date stock as part of a AUD160m (US$145.7m) writedown. The group announced a further writedown of AUD260m (US$243.6m) in this financial year, as Clarke attempts to turn the company around.

Today, he reaffirmed that fiscal-2015 is a “reset” year for the group, which involves “increasing consumer marketing, taking cost out and addressing structural opportunities”. The plans include cutting around 5% of the group's workforce.

TWE is also currently the subject of an apparent bidding war between two private equity groups. Clarke suggested this was not affecting his plans, however. “Despite the interest in our company from external parties, we remain absolutley committed to executing our 2015 growth plans,” he said. 

Asked if he would like to stay as CEO, if the company is bought out, he said: “The people who are looking at the company from the outside in seem to like it (the strategy), so yes, the team and I would love to be able to execute this roadmap.”

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Treasury Wine Estates Ltd in Wine (World)

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd in Wine (World)

Treasury Wine Estates has faced serious challenges since its spin-off from Foster’s Group in 2011. The US, which was a key component of its turnaround plan, has thus far failed to pay dividends. In 20...read more