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AUSTRALIA: BRL Hardy still bullish about 2002

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Wine group, BRL Hardy, said it still expects profit growth of at least 15% for the 2002 calendar year in spite of the highly competitive market conditions, which would result in a profit for 2002 of at least A$82m.

"In spite of competitive market conditions, the first quarter trading gives BRL Hardy no reason to change its 2002 expectations, which are for net profit more than 15% above last year," said managing director Stephen Millar.

The company posted a 14% increase in profit to A$71.2m in 2001 on turnover 20% higher at A$771.4 million. Analysts' profit forecasts for 2002 currently range from A$81m to A$96m.

While there has been talk in financial markets about the impact on profits of discounting in domestic and overseas markets, BRL Hardy said it still expects to meet its targets. "Our medium to longer term profit performance is targeted at 15% compound growth. We expect 2002 to deliver a profit above this target based on a strong performance by Pacific Wine Partners," the company said.


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