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Opinion

You will be amused by its presumption

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China's cuisine is among the world's finest but its wine industry lags far behind, a fact that new Hong Kong IPO candidate Dynasty Fine Wines Group has been striving to change since it started producing wine 25 years ago. Judging by current standards, the Tianjin-based company has some way to go, despite having an illustrious equity partner in Rémy Martin.

Although Dynasty wines don't compare too favourably with the finer French chateaux, the company is growing rapidly in China, In fact, based on the numbers in its IPO prospectus, local connoisseurs have been quaffing the stuff at a prodigious rate. The company, which produces red, white and sparkling wines as well as a local brandy, has a total annual capacity of 40 million bottles. Sales in the nine months to September 30 2004 reached RMB621 million ($75 million) and pre-tax profits hit RMB187 million.

The foreign palate has not yet taken to its products with quite the same gusto as the locals: exports currently account for just 0.2% of sales ? and that includes Hong Kong and Macau.

Foreigners may not be partial to Dynasty's oenological efforts but the company's shares have proved more than palatable to international tastes.

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