The strengthening of the Rand in the last six months of Winecorp’s financial year, ended 31 July 2003, resulted in an R8m “adverse” swing in its bottom line compared with 2002.

This, together with increased entry level white wine prices and inflationary increases in other input costs, resulted in a headline earning loss of 1.40c per share (R700,000), compared with a headline profit of 16.98c per share (R8.4m) in 2002.

Winecorp, a listed company, said the results were disappointing, as they did not reflect the successful move away from bulk wine sales to case wine sales, achieved during this period.

The company expects a tough year ahead, but management is buoyed by the increase in production capacity which will be used to build on the 36% sales increase achieved in the past year, together with, among others, the launch in the next month of a new brand on the domestic market called Fat Ladies.

MD, Neville Carew said Winecorp’s major client was ASDA in the UK, but it was increasing its volumes of African Classic label’s sales into Russia by 50% a year – since its introduction three years ago.