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Concern for Treasury profits after wine group freezes shares

Concerns are growing that Treasury Wine Estates is set to issue a fresh profits warning, after the Australian wine firm froze trading of its shares on the country's stock exchange.

Trading in Treasury Wine Estates’ shares has been halted until Thursday morning (30 January), ‘pending the release of an announcement’, stock exchange authorities said.

The move has sparked concern for the Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Beringer winemaker’s sales and profits.

‘The company requests this halt whilst management reviews its preliminary financial results for the six-month period ending 31 December, and any implications for the company’s full-year forecast,’ the wine group said. It is due to report its half-year results in full on 20 February.

In September last year, Treasury parted ways with its chief executive, David Dearie, less than a month after reporting a 50% slide in annual net profits.

Earnings were damaged by charges related to the destruction of excess wine in the US market, although the firm’s global net sales still rose by nearly 5% for the year, to A$1.76bn.

In October, concern about Treasury’s performance spread to China. Group chairman Paul Rayner used the firm’s annual general meeting to warn that demand for its wines in China was ‘softening, as a result of the leadership change and well-documented government austerity measures’.

Written by Chris Mercer

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