AUSTRALIA: Southcorp smooths fears with growth figures
Southcorp chief executive Keith Lambert used an ABN Amro conference to try and alleviate fears in the investment community about the company's performance by releasing figures that showed good growth in key markets.
Lambert said Southcorp's brands had grown at two-and-a-half times the rate of the general wine market in Europe in the early part of 2002 while in the US its labels were "gaining ground at a rapid pace".
Southcorp has been experiencing something of a crisis as investors sell of its stock after an email from the company last week to some analysts advised them to rethink their earnings forecasts following a poor 2000 vintage. Lambert's presentation seemed to have an effect as the pace of the sell-off was stemmed.
However, Southcorp is not out of the woods yet. Lambert also revealed that lower fruit volumes in the 2002 vintage may put further pressure on the company's earnings. The shortfall in the vintage has already been taken into account in 2002-2003 forecasts but the problem still has analysts concerned.
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