Foster’s delays decision on wine brands

Foster’s is delaying a decision about the future of its wine operations until the New Year, chairman David Crawford has told shareholders.

Although he said the company was stable and robust enough to weather the current economic storm, Crawford said a “detailed review of wine operations” was continuing. He added: “We expected to complete the wine review by the end of this calendar year. However, we have taken the decision to extend our workplan into early next year and now expect an announcement of the review outcomes no later than the release of our first half trading results in mid February.”

In June, Foster’s wrote down the value of its wine assets by $730 million, and speculation mounted that a sell-off of brands would take place. The company has been widely criticised for paying too much for its $3.7 billion acquisition of Southcorp in 2005.

Chief executive Ian Johnston said the UK performance was encouraging with volume and value increases across all channels for Lindemans, Wolf Blass, Rosemount and Penfolds.