Shares in Australian wine major Southcorp are substantially under-valued according to chief executive John Ballard. He was speaking to an investor audience at a Securities Institute lunch in the wake of the company's annual meeting, which formalised the loss of A$932m (US$647m) for 03-04.

"Southcorp is too important a company to remain at risk with a share price substantially below where I believe the long-term value of the business lies. This is not the most difficult turnaround in corporate Australia. The things that went wrong with Southcorp were more to do with poor corporate judgment and don't affect the fundamentals of the business which remain sound," Ballard said.

Ballard said Southcorp was one f the few Australian owned consumer product companies which had the ability to compete successfully on the world stage."