It looks as if Big Mac is going for the sympathy vote: a recent article in The Financial Review
by Simon Evans was headed “Brian McGuigan and the shadow behind
success”. How’s this for a tear jerker: “Brian McGuigan has been
trampled on, his vintage turned to grapes of wrath and now he is
fighting again, this time to beat a painful profit downgrading”. Plenty
of heart tugging pap throughout the article: “His biggest nightmare is
being swallowed by a foreign predator”.

Since a profit downgrade
in early April, the McGuigan-Simeon share price had dropped to $3.80
last Friday, which is considerably down on the $6 plus back in February
when the big man was telling grapegrowers they would be getting less
for their grapes in vintage 2005. The Fin reports “the profit
downgrade was a source of deep embarrassment to McGuigan”. No doubt it
was, but the company is still forecasting a $35-40 million profit this
year compared with the $40.2 million declared last year. The wolf
that’s knocking on grape growers’ doors isn’t yet snapping at
McGuigan’s heals. As McGuigan-Simeon is a big producer of bulk wine for
others to slap their label on, as well as a few popular brands, who’d
actually miss them if they went to an overseas company?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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