Troubled Aussie giant Southcorp is seeing its profits tumble – as ousted chief Keith Lambert walks away with a AUS$4.4m (US$2.7m) severance package.

ABC Australia reports today that around 1pm yesterday Southcorp shares were down 72 cents to AUS$3.69 (US$2.23) on the Australian Stock Exchange, a slump of 16 per cent.

As profits of AUS$5.7m (US$3.45) were revealed, executive chairman Brian Finn called the situation ‘unequivocally unsatisfactory’, and said there were ‘significant improvements’ needing to be made to the business.

At the same time, Reuters reported that Allied Domecq’s share price went down five per cent as the City reacted nervously to talk of a takeover bid for Southcorp.

One analyst told the news agency Southcorp would be a logical acquisition for Allied, but ‘the City is cautious about Allied’s relatively high wine exposure and cautious about their credit ratings.’

Keith Lambert was sacked earlier this month over concerns about the company’s financial performance. His severance package is reportedly AUS$4.4m.

Written by Adam Lechmere, and agencies25 February 2003