Southcorp does not intend to sell any of its businesses going forward in 2004. At a media briefing after the announcement of the company's first-half results, chief executive John Ballard rejected the likelihood of selling off any of its operations.

When asked if Southcorp was looking to sell as part of its restructuring plan, Project Veraison, Ballard told journalists: "The answer to that is no."

Ballard also said he was "comfortable" with Southcorp's EBITA forecast range for 2004 of between A$165m and A$175m. "That's the number that the market arrived at based on what we said about 3 to 4 percentage points of market growth," he said. "And that's a range we're comfortable with."

The group today unveiled half-year EBITA profit up by 39% to A$72.3m after significant items, while the operating profit before tax was A$49.4m, a massive leap from the A$8.7m in the previous corresponding period.