By Andrew Starke

US-based Constellation Brands is reportedly considering separating some of its wine operations from its beer producing business in Australia.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Constellation is examining the possibility of splitting up the local business unit into two arms, one that focuses on the premium segment of the market and one that concentrates on low-priced commercial wine.

Industry speculation about a possible split was compounded on Friday (Aug 7) when Peter Dawson, senior vice-president of technical and operations, left Constellation after 30 years with the company.

Last month’s results announcement in the US also hinted that it was more a case of when rather than if Australian operation would be remodeled.

Constellation Brand’s fiscal first-quarter earnings plunged 85 percent on restructuring costs while wine sales posted another drop.

The company said it would revamp its international operations, with analysts singling out weaknesses in both its UK and Australian businesses.

Contacted by TheShout, a spokesperson for Constellation Wines Australia said it was the group’s policy not to comment on rumours and speculation.

However she was able to confirm Dawson’s departure and credited him with “making a significant contribution across winemaking and operational roles during his 30 years of service”.

No replacement has yet been announced.

The spokesperson affirmed that the London-based head of Constellation’s Australian wine operations, Troy Christensen, is presently undertaking a review of Australian and European operations.

“I am also able to confirm that Troy Christensen now has an expanded role for our Australian operations in addition to his existing Constellation European responsibilities and his first priority is to ensure the Australian and European businesses are working together for the best possible results,” she said.

The Shout Team

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

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