The beleaguered Australian wine group Evans & Tate has received approval in principle from its bank ANZ for a restructuring of its balance sheet.

The restructuring aims to reduce Evans & Tate's debt to a sustainable level within the current fiscal year. At the end of June, Evans & Tate's net debt stood at A$169m (US$127m), and the company reported a net loss of A$63.9m for the 2005/06 fiscal year.

"The ANZ is a key stakeholder and its preliminary support for the proposed restructure marks the achievement of another step forward in Evans & Tate's turnaround strategy," said Martin Johnson, Evans & Tate managing director.

Although the bank's support is important, the actual restructuring would be carried out through a court-approved programme.