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Delegat first-half operating profit rose 1% to $20.5 mln, reiterates full-year guidance

Delegat Group, New Zealand's largest listed wine company, said first-half operating profit rose 1 percent and it's on track to meet guidance for full-year case sales and earnings.

Operating profit was $20.5 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $20.2 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based winemaker said in a statement. Global case sales rose 4 percent to 1.13 million. Net profit for the period tumbled to $9.8 million from $17.8 million a year earlier, reflecting fair value changes to the value of derivatives.

Delegat is almost tripling capital spending this year to $86 million to drive earnings growth, building a Hawke's Bay winery, expanding its Marlborough winery, and developing new vineyards in Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and the Barossa Valley. The maker of Oyster Bay, Delegat and Barossa Valley Estate wines said full-year case sales were forecast to rise 9 percent to 2.2 million cases, reiterating the projection in its annual report. Operating profit in the year was expected to rise 9 percent to $34 million. It didn't give guidance for net profit, saying it was too early to predict the impact of fair-value changes.

The company will release its full results for the first half on Feb. 27.

The shares fell 0.2 percent to $4.49 and have declined 2.2 percent this year.