Chapel Down raises £18.5m through share offer

English winery Chapel Down has raised £18.53 million through the issue of new shares to accelerate the growth of its business, and also intends to launch a further open offer for existing shareholders to raise a further £1.47m.

Frazer Thompson, CEO of Chapel Down.

The funds raised will be used to secure a new 500-acre vineyard to increase its production capacity and grow its wine business, but also to support its beer business, Curious Brew, with the fitting out of a shop, bar and visitor experience at its new brewery in Ashford.

The brewer announced the completion of its payment for a 1.6 acre site in Ashford to house the new Curious Drinks brewery, the company’s beer and cider arm, in November.

A secondary open offer will also be extended to existing shareholders at 50 pence per share with the aim of raising £1.47m.

“This is a transformational moment for Chapel Down,” said Frazer Thompson, CEO of Chapel Down. “This fundraising enables us to significantly invest in the business for further growth and to meet the increasing demand for our products. We welcome the new investors in our Company and hope that many of our existing shareholders will take part in the Open Offer and continue their journey with Chapel Down.

“This marks the opening of a new chapter of growth for Chapel Down. With an outstanding team and world class products, we will look to fully capitalise on our position as the UK’s most exciting drinks company.”

This year, the company expanded its senior team with the appointment of Gareth Bath from Brewdog and Mark Harvey from LVMH to drive the beer and wines and spirits businesses, respectively.

The company has already said one of its key focuses next year will be on rapid beer growth, given its new brewery – set for completion at the end of 2018 – and Bath’s experience at Brewdog.

More recently, the producer announced its first move into the gin and vodka category with the launch of a vodka and a gin produced using grapes from its 2016 harvest.

Chapel Down sources its grapes from 23 vineyards across the south of England including sites in Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and Essex. It also owns the largest vineyard (115 acres) in Kent, the Kit’s Coty estate on the North Downs. This year Chapel Down reported a 10% rise in grape yield compared with 2016 – its second highest yield of fruit to date – despite harsh frosts in late April.

Turnover is expected to be at or above £11.6m for the current financial year, in line with management and the board’s expectations.

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