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Southcorp

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Submitted By megawaty
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southcorp Limited:

Winemaker’s winding road

Based in New South Wales, Australia, Southcorp Limited is the world's largest maker of premium brand wine. The company oversees a number of brand names, including three of Australia's largest wine groups, Lindemans, and Penfolds, as well as Rosemount Estates, acquired in 2001. Other major wine labels include Wynns and Seppelts--the company has been working to reduce its total number of branded wines to under 850 by the end of 2003. In total, Southcorp owns more than 8,000 hectares of vineyards, and is the largest single landholder in the highly prized Coonawarra region. The company's combined volume, excluding bulk volumes, topped 22.2 million cases in 2001. The company's core brands, including Wynns, accounted for nearly 14 million cases. The United States represents a primary market for Southcorp, absorbing more than five million cases, while Europe accounts for nearly 7.5 million cases of Southcorp-produced wine. The company also owns small winery operations in the United States, where it has formed a joint venture partnership with Robert Mondavi, and in France, where it holds the James Herrick brand. Originally a beer brewer turned diversified conglomerate--the company's former holdings included a large water heater business--Southcorp has transformed itself into a focused wine group, completing the divestment of its water heater operations in 2002. Listed on the Australian stock exchange, Southcorp posted total group sales of A$2.82 billion (US$1.59 billion) in 2002. On 13 January 2005, Foster’s Group Limited announced the purchase of an 18.8% interest in Southcorp Limited from Southcorp’s largest shareholder, Reline Investments Pty Ltd, the Oatley family’s investment vehicle, for AU$4.17 per share in cash, valuing the stake at AU$584 million. Further details of the purchase are set out in the Substantial Holder Notice lodged on 14 January.

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