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Treasury Wine Slumps After A$160 Million Writedown

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd., the world’s second-largest listed wine company, fell the most since a 2011 listing after saying it would write off A$160 million ($145 million) to get rid of old and out-of-date bottles.

The writedown, greater than the company’s expected net income this year, was taken to address excess stock in the U.S., Treasury Wine’s largest division by sales, the Melbourne-based company said in a regulatory statement. The shares fell 12 percent in Sydney trading to close at A$5.11.

Treasury Wine will destroy stock, discount older bottles, and take costs for onerous grape-buying contracts and holding an excess of low-valued bulk wine, as a result of expected lower shipments to the U.S. which will reduce earnings in 2014 by about A$30 million, the company said. Net income was A$139 million in the year ended June 30, according to the average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“Industry feedback suggests ‘brand Australia’ is still out of favour in the U.S. market,” Michael Simotas, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Sydney, wrote in a note to clients July 3. Weaker-than-expected first-quarter results for Constellation Brands Inc., the largest wine company, were “not a good sign” for the performance of Treasury Wine’s U.S. business, he wrote.

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