Australian wine group BRL Hardy's chief executive Stephen Millar has renewed forecasts of 15% profit growth for 2002-03 and predicted 2004 will be "a boomer."

BRL Hardy is close to being taken over by the American Constellation Brands. Millar agreed with an Australian television interviewer the bid was a done deal. "We believe so but we would never assume to presume. I think the price is fair. The fact that the major shareholder (International Wine Investment Fund) has given the thumbs up should give all our shareholders confidence."

Millar confirmed 2002 had been the toughest year the Australian wine industry had faced, but said, "2003 will be a little less tough…and 2004 will be a boomer."

IWIF chief executive Rupert Clifton-Bligh said he did not believe speculation about a rival bid from the Australian Foster's company or international liquor group Diageo would eventuate.