Southcorp completed the sale of its packaging division yesterday by offloading its US division for $A175m to a management buyout team. This sale follows the sale of its Asian packaging operations to Visy for $A800m.

The addition of the US deal to the earlier Visy sale has generated close to $A1 billion for Southcorp in line with targets set out when the sale was planned last year.

The deal is part of a well documented move by Southcorp to focus on it wine division and comes only a day after the company confirmed it was to merge with Rosemount in a $A1.5 billion deal.

Southcorp also announced its interim results yesterday and forecast strong earnings growth after a disappointing decline in first half profit of 12.3%. The company blamed "one-off factors" as it increased its focus on wine.

Park said: "Transitional issues were reflected in the first half as were the implementing of the SAP computer system, increasing promotional costs with our Olympic strategy and a tough comparison with pre-millennium sales which made up a $A5m difference."

But the company reassured the city that second half and full year performances would be in line with the markets expectations.