The Australian wine group, Evans & Tate Ltd., has forecast a net profit of at least A$4.3m for the year to the end of June. That figure would be a record for the company and would represent a 48% increase from 2001-02.

The company said the year-end figures would include a three-and-a-half-month contribution from Cranswick Premium Wines, acquired in March, 2003. Evans & Tate said the integration of the two businesses was on schedule.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to rise by around 55% to A$13.3m.

"The company has completed a number of asset sales to reduce bank debt and will pursue this strategy in the future so as to continue to strengthen the company's balance sheet," said chairman and CEO, Franklin Tate.