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Les Grands Chais de France buys French bottling business

Leading French wine supplier Les Grands Chais de France has acquired a Beaujolas-based bottling company for an undisclosed sum.

Chateau Belles Eaux was acquired by Les Grands Chais de France earlier this year
Chateau Belles Eaux was acquired by Les Grands Chais de France earlier this year

The French importer has bought bottling company Paul Sapin, which specializes in French and New World wine, from Irish distributor Febvre, who has owned it since 1999, it was announced yesterday.

Febrvre told the Irish Times the sale would enable it to concentrate on its core Irish business.

Founded in 1889, Paul Sapin employs around 70 people and has a facility at La Chapelle de Guinchay, exporting wines from France, Spain, Italy, Chile, the USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to around 30 countries worldwide. In addition to its regular 75cl formats and brands, it specialises in alternative and smaller bottle format in glass and PET, with two bottling lines devoted to 18.7cl and 25cl bottles, as well as producing 50cl, 1L and 1.5L pouches.

The Beaujolais-based business has a €27 million turnover and focuses on exports, which account for around 85% of its sales, the majority to the market in the UK and Ireland.

Group GCF confirmed Paul Sapin would continue to be run as a separate entity by its current management team, and said its acquisition reaffirmed “the importance of the Irish and British markets for the group”.

At the end of last year, the UK arm of the French wine supplier adopted a new channel strategy to build growth in independents and convenience stores, by splitting its business into five channel covering the multiples, specialist discounters and ecommerce, convenience and cash & carry, the on-trade and independents, and Ireland. In February, it promoted its off-trade boss Mark Kears to head up the UK business as md, following the departure of Tim North.

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