Lafite and CITIC officially part ways in China

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and CITIC International Investment Group have officially parted ways on Lafite’s Chinese winery project, citing CITIC’s shift to focus on its core business as main reason for the split, Lafite has announced.

The official announcement of the split came about last month, after reports began circulating in the Chinese and English media when Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange listed the CITIC group’s sale of its 30% stake in Lafite’s Domaine de Penglai in China’s eastern Shandong province.

The partnership ended, according to Lafite, due to CITIC’s, “strategy of focusing on its core business.”

According to Lafite, CITIC played an important part in building the winery facilities at Domaine de Penglai.  

Christophe Salin, the outgoing president and CEO of DBR, commented: “We are very satisfied with the partnership and the quality of the work achieved. CITIC IIG team has been efficient and we are grateful for their efforts and contributions to the Shandong estate”.

CITIC IIG team then added: “The time and efforts spent in the project is quite valuable. We’re deeply impressed by DBR’s long-term approach, with constant concern about excellence and quality. And that’s why it can stand as one of the most renowned wine companies worldwide.”

“Given the macroeconomic situations and the shift of our business focus, CITIC IIG is undergoing strategic adjustment by initiatively exiting many of its minority-owned businesses, including the partnership with DBR. We remain confident about the success of this project,” it continued, without going into details.

CITIC seems to have indeed shifted its focus away from wine. Its CITIC Guo’an Wine company, which owns the Niya wine brand in China’s Xinjiang province, recently acquired Guoan Lithium, a battery maker, to diversify its business for profits, citing fierce competition from imported wines and dwindling profits for domestic wines as the main reasons behind the move, as previously reported by dbHK.

The 30% stake that CITIC was selling is valued at RMB 32.56 million, and DBR is purchasing CITIC’s shares and expects to own the entire capital of its Chinese vineyard after the completion of a public bidding process.

Founded in 2008, Domaine de Penglai is expected to release its first vintage later this year.

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