US billionaire saves NZ Wine Company

American-owned Foley Family Wines has saved the struggling New Zealand Wine Company.

Bill Foley

In a statement the Marlborough winemaker said Foley Family Wines, owned by American billionaire Bill Foley, would take 80% of the company to satisfy NZ Wine’s bankers by cutting at least $5 million of debt.

According to its June 30 accounts, NZ Wine had group loans and borrowings of $17.25 million.

NZ Wine chairman Alton Jamieson said Foley Family Wines NZ would be issued 34.7 million new shares in return for all its New Zealand assets and a cash component of about NZ$5m.

In the year to June 2011, NZ Wine sold 174,000 cases – about a 10th were sold as bulk wine.

The deal is subject to shareholder approval and Overseas Investment Office approval.

Foley Family Wines owns several Marlborough wine labels, Wairarapa luxury lodge Wharekauhau and Martinborough’s Te Kairanga Wines, which Mr Foley has made his New Zealand base.

Bill Foley owns several Californian wineries and one in Washington state.


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