McWilliams vineyard and wineries put up for sale

The winery and vineyards of one of Australia’s oldest producers, the McWilliam’s Wines Group, has been put up for sale after the company went into administration last month.

According to The Australian, administrators KPMG have appointed Colliers International to sell both the business and assets of McWilliam’s Wines Group and have given interested parties until Tuesday 31 March to express interest.

The 143-year old Riverina-based wine company, which has been owned by six generations of the same family, appointed KPMG as its administrators on 8 January, citing a decline in business performance.

The business is being sold either as a going concern or separately, which includes recapitalisation, or sold via a Deed of Company arrangement, The Shout reports.

Colliers International’s Tim Altschwager was said to be anticipating wide-ranging interest from major wine industry participants, private equity investors, high net worth individuals and buyers looking for restructure opportunities.

According to information filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and published in the Australian Financial Review in January 2019, McWilliam’s recorded a 13% fall in revenue for the 2017-18 financial year to AU$87.4 million.

However Altschwager said McWilliam’s was “a Top 10 Australian wine producer by revenue, generating circa. 1.3m 9LE volume and $97 million gross sales per annum, with operational capacity to crush up to 43,000 tonnes annually”, and its iconic status offered great potential for growth, particularly in overseas markets.

The company, was founded by Samuel McWilliam, who emigrated to Australia from Northern Ireland in 1857 and planted his first vines in New South Wales in 1877. It produces its own wines under the McWilliam’s label as well as wines made at the Mount Pleasant estate in the Hunter Valley.

McWilliam’s bought the Mount Pleasant estate, known for its Sémillon and Shiraz, in 1941, but also sources grapes from the Canberra, Hilltops and Tumbarumba regions in New South Wales.

The winemaker previously used Collier International to sell three vineyards, in Griffith and Coonawarra, to Hong Kong-listed group CK Life Sciences for $15.7 million in 2015, as part of a sale and lease back arrangement, the Australian Financial Review reported at the time.

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