The Australian wine giant Southcorp announced today that its total 2002 grape crush had reached 253,000 metric tons, in line with expectations but a drop nonetheless from last year's 290,000 tons.

It also said it was on track to record 2001/02 earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) of A$285m (US$162m), while EBITA is still expected to rise to A$335 million in the next fiscal year, ending June 30, 2003.

In a statement chief executive Keith Lambert said the overall vintage quality is up from a year ago, and the company's fruit intake better matches its growth plans, while improving cash flow and generating improved returns.

"This vintage reflects the benefits of 12 months of careful planning, with overall quality up and our fruit intake better matching what we require to achieve our growth plans while simultaneously improving cash flow and generating improved returns within the business," Lambert said.

Lambert also reiterated the previous estimates that the reduced 2002 grape crush will impact the value of the 2002 vintage, therefore reducing SGARA profit.

SGARA is an accounting treatment for self-generating and regenerating assets.
However this reduced SGARA profit has no cash effect as its value is based on changing from the cost of growing grapes from Southcorp's own vineyards to that of grape market value.