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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
Wine glut hits profit at Foster's
Foster's sponsorship during Australian grand-prix
The company's profit growth has moved out of the fast lane
A wine glut in the US has hit profits at beer and wine company Foster's during the first half of 2004.

The Australian company has been looking to expand its wine business but suffered as a surplus of US grapes forced many producers to cut prices.

Profit in the six months ending 30 June was 35.2 million Australian dollars ($25m; 14m), down 72% from a year ago.

The company's new chief executive Trevor O'Hoy, who took over in April, said things will improve.

"At an operational level there are grounds for confidence in strong performances in the coming years across all parts of the business," said Mr O'Hoy.

Full-year profit at Foster's increased 73% to A$799.30 from a year earlier, lifted by the sale of Foster's pub business.

But the disappointing second-half figures hit Foster's shares, and they closed 2.1% lower at A$4.57.

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