Australia's Treasury Wine Estates soars on Pernod report

2nd May 2014, Comments 0 comments

Shares in Australia's Treasury Wine Estates spiked more than 10 percent on Friday after global drinks giant Pernod Ricard suggested it was interested in buying some of its American assets.

Jean-Christophe Coutures, chief of Pernod Ricard Winemakers, made the comments to The Australian newspaper, acknowledging the assets were not currently for sale.

"If Treasury had been willing to release some assets we'd have been looking at it, but it seems it's not really on their agenda... It's a matter of opportunity, not us saying 'We want to buy your winery'," he said.

Shares in Treasury soared on the news, rising as much as 14 percent before settling at about 7 percent higher at Aus$4.11 at 0300 GMT.

Treasury issued a statement saying it did not comment on market speculation, "but confirms that it has not been approached by, and is not in discussions with, Pernod Ricard".

The Australian firm owns Beringer, the oldest continually-operating winemaker in California's Napa Valley, as well as Californian winemaker Chateau St Jean. Its major Australian assets include the Penfolds and Wolf Blass wineries.

Treasury is seeking to improve its performance by focusing on its premium brands while reducing overheads.

The Australian newspaper said new boss Mike Clarke had indicated that the company's US business was too important to sell, despite recent costly writedowns.

French firm Pernod Ricard, the world's second largest wine and spirits producer, counts Chivas whiskey, Martell cognac and Absolut vodka among its brands.

© 2014 AFP

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