Australia's leading wine producer, Southcorp, requested its shares be suspended on Monday following mounting speculation last Friday that it was about to issue a downgraded profit forecast.

"We understand that rumours were circulating in the market last Friday evening relating, among other things, to the possibility that the company, early this week, may issue an earnings downgrade," Southcorp said. "We further understand that these rumours may have led to the higher than usual turnover in Southcorp's securities on Friday, and may have contributed to the 5% decline in the company's share price."

A Southcorp spokesman added that any announcement would be issued immediately after the company's board meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.

Southcorp shares were down 27 cents at the close on Friday at A$4.83 and were not traded on Monday. The company has previously forecast earnings of A$335m (A$184.3m) for the year to June.