Australian wine giant Southcorp said today that the sale of its Asia Pacific packaging assets to Visy Industries has been delayed, due to regulatory and other approvals. Southcorp said a final transaction should now be completed in early 2001. A settlement had been due on December 31st this year.

In a statement the company said: "In the meantime, the business continues to be owned and run by Southcorp with profits accruing to Southcorp shareholders."

Southcorp's CEO Graham Kraehe said: "We will continue to work with Visy Industries and regulatory authorities in Australia and New Zealand to facilitate the orderly handover of the business to Visy in the new year."

The expected A$1 billion-plus proceeds from the divestment from the packaging divestment will fund a buyback of up to 10% of Southcorp's issued ordinary shares, which began December 12 and will continue for 12 months.

The company's shares slipped nine cents to A$5.10 today.