Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck for sale

Daily wine news - the latest breaking wine news from around the world News News Wine News http://decanter.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11150/0000011c0/e1ad_orh100000w160/PIPER-HEIDSIECK-2000.jpg http://decanter.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11150/0000011c0/69b1/PIPER-HEIDSIECK-2000.jpg
  • Friday 26 November 2010

French drinks group Rémy Cointreau has put its Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck Champagne brands up for sale in a deal which could raise as much as €450m.


The news has provoked intense speculation over who will acquire the brands, with Diageo and Pernod Ricard named as possible bidders – although analysts believe a private equity group is the most likely buyer.

The company has commissioned Crédit Agricole-CIB to begin the sale process by inviting bids after growing impatient with its Champagne business’s inability to turn a profit.

It is understood that Piper has never been profitable in the 20 years that Rémy Cointreau has owned it, in stark contrast to the money-making power of the company’s Rémy Martin Cognac business.

Piper president Anne-Charlotte Amory has spent the past few years trying to turn the business around, achieving a 10-12% EBIT (earnings before income tax) margin in the year to March 2008 – before seeing that wiped out by the economic downturn.

Sales dropped to 6.9m bottles in the year to March 2010 – of which Piper accounted for 5.6m and Charles 0.8m bottles.

Cost-cutting measures have included the announcement of 45 job losses – one quarter of the workforce – in February this year, which prompted strike action at the company’s headquarters on the outskirts of Reims.

The company said: ‘The Rémy Cointreau Group announces that it has given a mandate to Crédit Agricole-CIB to commence a competitive bid process for the possible sale of its Champagne division comprising, notably, the Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck brands.

‘The conclusion of a sale agreement will remain subject to the necessary information disclosure, consultation and authorisation procedures, in accordance with current regulations.’

En primeur coverage

The latest Bordeaux 2011 en primeur coverage on Decanter.com

Related Topics