AUS: Foster's has "no plans" for more wine sales
Foster's Group has insisted its has no intentions of offloading any more wineries after selling two properties in the Hunter Valley and Coonawarra.
The sale of the two wineries, which Foster's had flagged last August, comes under a week after the company sold three other properties - two in Australia and one in France.
The Australian drinks giant yesterday (3 July) sold its Lower Hunter Valley winery to Michael Hope of Hope Estate for an undisclosed sum. At the same time, Foster's also offloaded its Jamiesons Run winery to Coonawarra Developments for an undisclosed sum.
A Foster's spokesman declined to comment on how much it had received for the wineries but analysts in Australia have estimated that the company may have pocketed around A$20m (US$14.9m).
Foster's gave no indication of the effect on jobs but said that the affected employees would have the opportunity to find work elsewhere in the company.
However, the spokesman maintained that Foster's had no further plans to sell off more wineries. "We are always reviewing our network but there are no planned sales," he told just-drinks from Melbourne today (4 July).
The sales come as Foster's looks at streamlining its wine footprint in the aftermath of last year's takeover of Southcorp. The three wineries sold last week were ex-Southcorp assets but both the Rothbury Estate and Jamiesons Run wineries had been previously owned by Foster's.
The spokesman admitted that the continuing wine glut in Australia had made it "all the more important" that Foster's streamlined its business.
He said: "When we bought Southcorp, we flagged up the number of synergies that we thought we could make but it's probably fair to say that (the glut) has made the process all the more important and we worked hard on ensuring the swift delivery of the synergies."
Foster's will keep the Rothbury Estate and Jamiesons Run brands and switch its grape contracts to other wineries in the Lower Hunter Valley and Coonawarra.
"Foster's will continue to invest in premium Hunter Valley winemaking and showcase the best of Hunter Valley wine styles around the world," said Jim Kirkpatrick, general manager, winery operations for Foster's Wine Estates.
Kirkpatrick added that, in Coonawarra, Foster's would expand its Wynn's Estate winery to ensure it could produce its range of premium wines from the region. "Foster's is retaining a strong presence in Coonawarra - a region that remains crucial to Foster's wine strategy," he said.
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