Penfolds sales rise but parent company’s profits softer in first half

The Melbourne-headquartered parent company of Penfolds saw its profits slide in the first half of the financial year, but the famed South Australian label was a standout performer with sales up in the period.

Feb 15, 2024, updated Feb 15, 2024
Photo: Philip White

Photo: Philip White

Penfolds net sales revenue was close to $450 million in the six months to 31 December, up 9.2 per cent, but overall Treasury Wine Estates profit after tax was down 5.9 per cent.

The company said the results were in line with expectations, with overall earnings down 5.8 per cent to $289.8 million as a result of weaker sales from its Americas and Premium Brands divisions.

Treasury Wine Estates CEO Tim Ford said he was pleased with the performance of the company, “with strong consumer demand from our priority luxury brand portfolio continuing around the globe”, landing the firm a $182.3 million profit.

“Penfolds continues to perform and strengthen, whilst Treasury Americas has made significant progress in reshaping its portfolio focus with continued growth of its luxury brands now supported by the acquisition of DAOU in December,” Ford said, referencing the company’s $1.4 billion acquisition of US wine business DAOU Vineyards.

“The premium wine category, whilst resilient, is highly competitive and we continue to innovate and invest to achieve the goal of outperforming the category and attracting new consumers to wine.”

Penfolds earnings were up 2.9 per cent to $186.9 million, with the result driven by Asian and Australian buyers.

“Growth was moderated by the planned weighting of shipments in F24 to 2H24, particularly for the Bin and Icon portfolio, in order to retain the flexibility of Penfolds global distribution and pricing models should there be a positive outcome in relation to the review of tariffs on Australian wine sold into China,” Treasury Wine Estates said.

The firm said wine market trends were “broadly in line with expectations”, noting demand for luxury drops was strong, with consumer preferences favouring premium wine over commercial alternatives.

The company’s American arm reported a 17.6 per cent decline in earnings to $93.1 million, while its Premium portfolio saw sales revenue fall 13.9 per cent, driven by lower shipments of its 19 Crimes brand.

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The company is anticipating a determination on the review of tariffs on Australian wine by China to be made in March this year, and the company said it was “well placed to recommence re-establishing its Australian country of origin portfolio in China, should there be a positive outcome from the review”.

If tariffs do lift, the company plans to re-establish the distribution of Penfolds and its entry-level luxury drops (Penfolds Max’s, Koonunga Hill and One by Penfolds) to China. Prices for Penfolds Bin and Icon lines would increase too, “given the expected shift in global demand relative to availability”.

Long-term, the company plans to deliver high single-digit average earnings growth, driven by global wine category consumer trends remaining “broadly consistent”.

“The business is on track to deliver mid-high single-digit earnings growth in F24 and we remain confident that our premiumisation strategy, preeminent brand portfolio and attractive market fundamentals at luxury price points will allow us to continue to deliver our long-term growth ambitions,” Ford said.

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