The Australian winemaker Evans & Tate Ltd has reported record revenue growth for the first half, following its first full six months of trading since acquiring Cranswick Premium Wines in March 2003.

Revenues increased 160% to A$40.70m, while operating profits after tax attributable to members leapt 79%, compared to the same period a year before, to A$2.055m.

Chairman and CEO Franklin Tate said: The 17% growth in earnings per share [which reached A$2.6 1cents per share] is particularly pleasing. With the Cranswick acquisition not yet 12 months old, we envisage further significant EPS growth in the future."

Case sales grew 260% to 703,000, with increases recorded in all the groups' core brands as they continue to grow in both domestic and export markets.

"Our markets continue to expand with strong growth achieved in all our segments particularly UK/Europe. The Australian domestic market holds great potential fo rthe group, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. The North American and UK/Europe results are pleasing given the challenging trading conditions," Tate said.

Total revenue for UK/Europe increased from A$502,000 to A$14.3m.

Total revenue for the North American operations increased 84%, from A$826,000 to A$1.5m. The company said the operations were on track o break even soon.

At home, revenues increased 111% from A$17.9m to A$37.8m.

Looking forward, a statement said that the six months to 30 June is historically a stronger period than the first half of the year, and the company believed that trend would continue.

"The Australian domestic market continue to hold great potential for Evans & Tate brands, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales," said Tate.

He added: Management believe that further growth of its Barramundi brand is achievable in UK/Europe despite the challenging trading conditions."