9 Dec 2010

Debt, falling profits continue to hit winegrowers

7:12 am on 9 December 2010

The wine industry is continuing to be plagued by declining profitability and high debt levels.

The latest survey by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers, Vintage 2010, found subdued demand and bumper harvests in previous years have resulted in lower priced bulk sales, hurting earnings at the 35 firms that responded.

Those firms represent 30% of the industry's export sales revenue.

New Zealand Winegrowers says it is worried a strong harvest of more than 300,000 tonnes in 2011 will add to the industry's woes.

The lobby group says while the industry has reduced costs, it remains heavily indebted, which has been exacerbated by falling land values.

A partner at Deloitte, Paul Munro says while the industry has reduced costs, more collapses are inevitable as wine producers remain heavily indebted.