Yealands sells majority stake

Yealands Family Wines’ owner Peter Yealand has agreed to sell 80% of the company to a Marlborough-based business for NZ$89 million (£38.1m).

Yealands' principle winery in Marlborough. Yealands is one of New Zealand's largest producers, with 1,100 hectares of planted vineyards in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay (Photo: Jim Tannock)

Yealands’ principle winery in Marlborough. Yealands is one of New Zealand’s largest producers, with 1,100 hectares of planted vineyards in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay (Photo: Jim Tannock)

The equity sale announced today sees founder Peter Yealands’ share of the company drop from 75% to 15%, with chief executive Jason Judkins keeping the remaining 5%.

The company taking over Yealands, Marlborough Lines, is a local electricity operator that provides power to some 24,500 customers in the South Island region.

Peter Yealands told local press that the company has been looking far and wide for a large investor for months, but found one “right on our doorstep”, continuing that he “couldn’t think of anything better”.

“In looking for an investor we wanted someone who shared our beliefs and who would help us to continue to build the business, both in expanding our fruit supply and in developing our international marketing programme,” he said.

Marlborough Lines managing director Ken Forrest said the purchase is a good investment for the company and will “provide long-term economic and social benefits to the region”.

He said said Marlborough Lines had realised profits of over NZ$100m (£43m) from investments which up until recently had been held outside the region, and the investment in Yealands provides an opportunity to reinvest locally.

“Opportunities to invest in the electricity industry are limited and this led to us looking to other options. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to acquire an 80% interest in Yealands,” Mr Forrest said.

Yealands insisted that he would still continue in his ambassador role at the company, but revealed that he hoped he would “get out of [the] office a little more and assist in the winemaking.


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