Indevin looks set to buy Villa Maria
New Zealand’s largest contract winemaker, Indevin, has today entered into a conditional agreement to acquire the entire Villa Maria Estate, a 2.5 million case Kiwi wine business.
Villa Maria Estate’s parent company, FFWL – which is owned by Sir George and Karen Fistonich – had been placed in receivership in May this year, as it was unable to pay its debts to Rabobank and ANZ, according to stuff.co.uk.
The New Zealand wine producer had been looking to raise capital, and it was rumoured that a number of companies were in the running to acquire Villa Maria Estate in its entirety, including Delegat, which owns the Oyster Bay label, along with – as previously reported by db – New Zealand’s Scales Corporation, which is the country’s biggest apple grower and packer.
Indevin, who it had also been said was in the running, signed the conditional sale today following “an extensive nine month sale process”, according to a statement sent to the drinks business.
The sale was handled by the receivers of FFWL – Brendon Gibson and Neale Jackson of Calibre Partners – and sees 100% of the shares in Villa Maria Estate Limited acquired by Indevin – a contract winemaker for retailers and distributors.
Although the price was not revealed, Villa Maria Estate had previously been valued at around $200 million.
If the sale is finalised, it will include Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Auckland wineries, vineyards, supplier agreements, the flagship brand Villa Maria as well as Esk Valley, Vidal and Leftfield.
Commenting on the conditional sale, chairman of Indevin Greg Tomlinson said, “Our business model is all about producing quality wines, creating authentic brands while retaining and building value for New Zealand wine in international markets. Adding Villa Maria to our portfolio fits within our longterm growth strategy and will complement our existing business.”
Continuing, he said, “Our whole business is built around holding and building value for New Zealand vineyards and growers. If the conditions of the sale are satisfied, we plan to drive focus and increased investment behind Villa Maria to further enhance its reputation for quality and protect its brand value. This will be an important next step in the story of the brand.”
Chairman of the Villa Maria board, Malcolm McDougall said, “It’s reassuring that Villa Maria’s new owner will be another Kiwi company. There is genuine compatibility between the businesses. Indevin is a successful operator, it brings a strong supply chain and has established key export markets with contracted long-term partnerships. Meanwhile Villa Maria brings a legacy and strong brands that command a premium. Together that’s a powerful combination.”
Receiver, Brendon Gibson, commented, “We are working closely with Villa Maria management and the purchaser to satisfy the sale conditions, which are typical for a transaction of this nature, with a view to settlement on 31 August 2021. We see this is a good outcome that provides certainty for the business, staff, customers, suppliers and the communities in which Villa Maria operates.”
Calibre Partners also announced that FFWL has entered into a conditional contract to sell 34 hectares of light industrial land surrounding Villa Maria’s Auckland winery to Goodman Property Trust. The land sale is expected to settle later in 2021.
- 225 permanent employees.
- 450 employees at seasonal peaks.
- 37 million litres of wine sold in last financial year.
- 50,000 tonnes of grapes the flagship winery in Marlborough is capable of processing in the focused 3-4 week harvest window.
- 108 bottles of Indevin supplied wine sold every minute globally.
About Villa Maria
- #1 New Zealand wine brand in UK and Ireland by value
- 300 permanent employees.
- 400 employees at seasonal peaks.
- 2.5 million 9 litre cases of branded wine sold in last financial year.
- 30,000 tonnes of grapes processed annually through its wineries