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

Operating profit was $20.5 million in the six months ended December 31, from $20.2 million a year earlier. Global case sales rose 4 per cent 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 Hawkes Bay winery, expanding its Marlborough winery, and developing new vineyards in Marlborough, Hawkes 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 per cent to 2.2 million cases, reiterating the projection in its annual report. Operating profit was expected to rise 9 per cent to $34 million. It did not 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 February 27.

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Delegat Group shares closed unchanged yesterday at $4.50.

-BusinessDesk