Surging worldwide sales of its Jacob's Creek brand was the main reason for a 54% increase in profit for Australia's Orlando Wyndham group, a subsidiary of the French Pernod Ricard conglomerate.

Orlando Wyndham managing director Christian Porta said hedging policies would compensate for the effect of the resurgent Australian dollar - currently US55.6 cents - though in the long term a higher Australian dollar would have implications for the whole industry.

The company's financial results for calendar 2001 were filed with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission by the parent company and showed an A$80m (US$44m) rise in annual sales to A$543m (US$391m).Before tax profit was A$89.7m.

Worldwide, Jacob's Creek sales rose 19% to 5.3 million cases while sales of the smaller Wyndham Estate range increased by 15% to almost 1 million cases. Jacob's Creek is headed for a bumper 2002 with sales in the first three months 18% above the first quarter of 2001. The only relative negative was that domestic sales increased only slightly over 2001.