NAPA -- Sales volume for North Coast wine brands Beringer Vineyards and Chateau St. Jean second half of 2011 were key to "stabilized" unit sales in the Americas for Treasury Wine Estates, the Australia-based company reported today as part of its fiscal half-year results.
Unit sales for the St. Helena-based Beringer brand eked out 0.4 percent year-over-year growth in the first half of the fiscal year, ended Dec. 31 amid the industry's critical year-end holiday sales period. Volume had dipped 1.7 percent in the first half of the calendar year.
As for Kenwood-based Chateau St. Jean, sales volume jumped nearly 30 percent in the first half of fiscal 2012. Other first-half sales stars in the Napa-based Beringer business unit were Australian import Lindeman's, up 14.3 percent, and Italian import Castello di Gabbiano, up nearly 23 percent.
"Global demand for our luxury wines remains extremely high and continues to exceed our supply," said David Dearie, chief executive officer. "Therefore to optimise our returns we will continue to re-allocate these wines in the short term. However, to meet the strong demand in the longer term, we will increase our investment in vineyard redevelopment and sourcing."
The company reported growth in three out of four regional business units and four out of five brand Business units.
Sales in the Napa-based Americas business unit dipped 1.5 percent in the second quarter to the equivalent of 8.2 million 9-liter cases, compared with a year before. Net revenue in the Americas at the end of 2011 of A$388 million ($394.8 million) decreased 10.0 percent from proforma sales at the end of 2010 but were off only by 2.4 percent on a constant-currency basis.
Net revenue per case in the region eased just 0.9 percent to $47.3 million at the end of the first half of fiscal 2012 from a year before. Pro forma earnings there fell 17.1 percent on a constant-currency basis to A$39.8 million ($40.5 million).
Mr. Dearie attributed that earnings slip to more competition, a stronger Canadian dollar, moving through retailer inventories in Canada and changes in release dates for Penfolds and the relaunched Rosemount brands.
Companywide, first-half volume sales slipped 6.2 percent over the year to 16.9 million cases as of Dec. 31, and comparable-currency net revenue decreased by 2.6 percent to A$858.1 million ($873 million). Constant-currency net income grew 10.2 percent to A$81.1 million.
Also in the Beringer business unit are U.S. brands Cellar No. 8, Emma Pearl, Etude, Greg Norman Estates, Meridian, Santa Barbara Collection, Sbragia Family Vineyards, Sledgehammer, Souverain, St. Clement and Stags’ Leap plus imports Colores del Sol and Tierra Secret.
The stock price for Treasury Wine (ASX: TWE) jumped at the Friday opening to A$3.67 a share from A$3.53 Thursday and was trading above A$3.74 at 1:21 p.m. local time. The company declared a 6 Australian cent-per-share dividend, matching the dividend declared in August.