By Andrew Starke

Australian Vintage (AVG) has reported annual sales rose by nine percent over the 2009 financial year.

This sales growth was better than expected from Australia’s second largest listed wine company.

“In one of the Australian wine industry’s toughest years, a focus on expert and driving brands is delivering nine percent higher sales,” AVG’s CEO Dane Hudson said. “Our sales are significantly ahead of the industry in both volume and value.”

AVG also announced that it had reached an in-principle agreement with its bankers to extend a debt facility for two more years.

“We have delivered on our February commitment to the market and reduced debt from $169 million at the end of December 2008 to $145 million as at the end of the financial year,” Hudson said.

In a June progress report, Australian Vintage attributed some of its turnaround to the success of its McGuigan brand in the UK, where it has recorded 32 per cent growth across off-consumption channels.

AVG’s will report full year results on August 26.

AVG’s share price rallied on the news, climbing to 36.5c per share at midday today, up from 16.5c seven days ago.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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