Marlborough Lines takes 80% stake in Yealands Wine for $89 million
By Suze Metherell
July 2 (BusinessDesk) - Marlborough Lines has bought an 80 percent stake in Yealands Wine Group, New Zealand's sixth-largest wine exporter, for $89 million.
The South Island electricity lines company took control from founder Peter Yealands, who wanted to keep the winery fully New Zealand owned, the companies said in a joint statement. Marlborough Lines is debt free and had realised $100 million in cash from investments which it wanted to reinvest locally.
"Opportunities to invest in the electricity industry are limited and this led to us looking to other options," said Marlborough Lines managing director Ken Forrest. "We are satisfied that this will be a successful investment which will broaden our asset base for the benefit of the people of Marlborough."
Last December, Yealands Wine Group hired investment bank UBS to advise on capital-raising options, including a possible initial public offering to expand its vineyard assets and grape supply. The company didn't give a capital raising target at the time. Yealands Wine was created in 2011 through the merger of Yealands Estate Wines and Ager Sectus Wine Estates. It has 1,200 hectares of vines and exports more than 1 million cases a year to over 80 countries.
The company is primarily looking to expand in sauvignon blanc in Marlborough, although the strategic review "will be wide-ranging" it said at the time.