Woolworths Pays $344M For PE-backed Cellarmasters

Australian retailer Woolworths Ltd. will pay 340 million Australian dollars ($344 million) for wine direct marketer Cellarmasters, Reuters reported. The company is buying Cellarmasters from private equity firm Archer Capital.

(Reuters) – Australia’s largest retailer Woolworths Ltd posted first-half net profit up 6 percent as its core supermarkets business outperformed weaker discretionary retail units.

It also announced it will buy wine direct marketer Cellarmasters from private equity firm Archer Capital for A$340 million.

Woolworths, which also owns discounter Big W and electronics chain Dick Smith, said net profit before one-offs rose to A$1.16 billion ($1.171 billion), from A$1.095 billion a year earlier.

That was above analyst forecasts of A$1.155 billion.

In January, Woolworths cut its earnings growth forecast for fiscal 2011 by as much as half, predicting cautious consumers would continue to spend less. (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Balazs Koranyi)