Australian wine producer BRL Hardy has admitted guilt on four counts of dumping effluent without official permission and faces fines of up to A$480,000 (US$288,000).

The company entered guilty pleas in the South Australian Environment Court, the state where the offences took place in February 2000 and June and July 2001.

Five more serious charges were withdrawn by the Environment Protection Authority.

The court said formal sentence would be imposed later.