The $105 million International Wine Investment Fund (IWI) is poised to
grab a significant stake in a fully integrated wine company based in France's
IWI has held discussions with a major French wine group over the past three
months, leading to the winery recently launching a corporate and organisational
restructure to accommodate IWI's fresh capital injection.
Traditionally, IWI has taken a 10 to 40 per cent stake in overseas wine
The name of the wine company is unknown but is believed to be within the
Nantes region of the Loire Valley on the west coast of France.
IWI chief executive Christopher Day confirmed the company was interested in
making an investment in the Loire Valley and said a final deal was expected to
be brokered in the new year.
``We could work a lot quicker than that, but we've actually gone to these
people in France and said that unless the deal is done the way we want it done
we won't be investing, so they are now restructuring," Mr Day said.
He declined to name the wine company but said it was a well-recognised brand
in Europe that sold between 1 and 2 million cases a year and had a strong market
penetration in the US and Canada.
IWI, which is the biggest shareholder in BRL Hardy with a 12.5 per cent
stake, is eagerly chasing new overseas investments and has accelerated its
international exposure this year to $32.14 million from $1.3 million the year
before. The Adelaide fund now has almost 15 per cent of its assets invested
Its recent strategic investments include $12.6 million in Hawesko, Germany's
leading retailer and wholesaler of premium wines, $2.7 million in British wine
distributor Vinceros and $11 million in Gabriel Meffre, a French wine producer
based in the Cotes du Rhone and Languedoc regions.
The size of IWI's interest in the offshore wine groups ranges from a 6.5 per
cent stake in Hawesko to a near 40 per cent stake in Gabriel Meffre.
IWI's diverse portfolio, which also includes shares in Evans & Tate, Foster's
and Southcorp, generated $11.64 million in revenue last financial year,
producing a profit after tax for the listed investment fund of $4.42 million.