24/10/2007 - 16:08

McWilliam's Wines to acquire Evans & Tate

24/10/2007 - 16:08

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NSW-based McWilliam's Wines Pty Ltd has emerged as the successful bidder for collapsed Margaret River winery Evans & Tate following a seven week tender process sparking interest from operators including Foster's Group Ltd and De Bortoli Wines Pty Ltd.

McWilliam's Wines to acquire Evans & Tate

NSW-based McWilliam's Wines Pty Ltd has emerged as the successful bidder for collapsed Margaret River winery Evans & Tate following a seven week tender process sparking interest from operators including Foster's Group Ltd and De Bortoli Wines Pty Ltd.

McWilliam's Wines had originally been working in conjunction with Peter Fogarty's Pendulum Capital Pty Ltd to acquire E&T.

However, although both parties were today named as the preferred consortium purchaser of E&T by receiver McGrathNicol, Pendulum will not be funding part of the deal or taking a stake in E&T.

Mr Fogarty said it became clear about four or five weeks ago that McWilliam's could fund the transaction with its own balance sheet and Pendulum simply had an advisory role through the process and would continue to advise McWilliam's.

Pendulum had earlier this year proposed a balance sheet restructure of E&T with the support of E&T's main creditor, ANZ Banking Group, and brought McWilliam's in as a third party. All three groups were to emerge with a stake in E&T.

Mr Fogarty told WA Business News that the consortium withdrew its balance sheet restructure offer earlier this year after opposition from E&T security holders and that, with the bank debt now removed from a takeover equation, McWilliam's balance sheet had enough muscle to fund the transaction.

Under the terms of the sale revealed today by McGrathNicol, E&T will be acquired by the Australian based operations of McWilliam's subject to "finalisation of appropriate documentation".

A McWilliam's spokeswoman said the winery would not be making any comment until after the transaction had settled, which is expected on November 30.

WA Business News understands that McWilliam's senior management and winemakers will be in WA next week to meet with E&T staff.

The sale ends months of speculation about the fate of E&T after it fell into administration in August after Pendulum and McWilliam's backed out of the balance sheet restructuring deal.

The collapse of the restructure came after Ferngrove Vineyards Ltd abandoned a merger proposal after it conducted due diligence.

Fellow WA winery Vasse Felix also chose to walk away from E&T after taking a look at the business during the recent tender process.

Wine Industry of WA president John Griffiths said the acquisition of E&T by McWilliam's and Pendulum was good news for the local industry.

"McWilliam's has a fantastic reputation and track record," Mr Griffiths said.

"We think that the resources and the skills that they will bring to E&T will be sensational."

Mr Griffiths added that the sale provided certainty for grape growers.

"It provides stability for the industry and we think that McWilliam's will move quickly to secure supplies of grapes," he said.

McWilliams won the rights to distribute E&T wines two days after receivers were appointed to E&T.

McWilliam's also distributes its own Margaret River label including McWilliam's Collection Margaret River varieties and a brand called Catching Thieves.

 

The full text of McGrathNicol's announcement is pasted below

Peter Anderson, Shaun Fraser and Andrew Birch of McGrathNicol were appointed Receivers and Managers of Evans & Tate on 21 August 2007.

Evans & Tate is recognised as one of Australia's leading winemakers. It has a long heritage of producing world-class wines from Margaret River in Western Australia and the Yarra Valley in Victoria, for the enjoyment of wine lovers throughout the world. Major brands include Margaret River Classic, Evans & Tate Margaret River, Gnangara, The Reserve, Oakridge, Over The Shoulder and X&Y.

The Receivers are pleased to announce that, after a comprehensive public tender process over the last 7 weeks, the Pendulum Capital / McWilliam's Wines consortium has been selected as the preferred purchaser for ETW's Margaret River business (including the Margaret River Classic, Evans & Tate Margaret River, Gnangara, The Reserve and X&Y brands).

The sale is subject to finalisation of appropriate documentation which, when achieved, should enable settlement to occur on or around 30 November 2007.

The terms of the sale including price remain confidential.

The Receivers sincerely thank ETW's staff, customers and suppliers for their ongoing support.

 

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