De Bortoli toasts rising equities

De Bortoli Wines, one of Australia's largest family-owned wine groups, has swung back into profitability after posting a $24.7 million loss last year.

De Bortoli Wines, one of Australia's largest family-owned wine groups, has swung back into profitability after posting a $24.7 million loss last year.

Rising equity markets boosted the winemaker's extensive share portfolio, with costs at its wineries also helping the bottom line.

Documents obtained by BusinessDay show De Bortoli Wines - the third-generation group founded by Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli in 1928 - recorded a full-year net profit of $5.041 million for fiscal 2013. Revenue was slightly down at $166.63 million from $167.65 million.

The previous year's loss came after the winemaker's equities portfolio sank by nearly $50 million after a number of unfortunate investments, including a large exposure to north Queensland mining giant Kagara.

But rising markets and better investments helped turn this around.

De Bortoli's sharemarket dealings, led by chief executive Darren De Bortoli, have often been a major contributor to the accounts, with profits from its share trading eclipsing its wine earnings for fiscal 2011.

The winemaker said that, in the past year, it had also received a $4.8 million grant from the federal government as part of the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program delivered by AusIndustry.

It matched an investment of $11 million by the De Bortoli family to install solar energy at its facilities.

De Bortoli is the first large family wine company to report this year's earnings. Others follow soon, throwing a light on the performance of some of Australia's most well-known wine brands.

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