Credit Agricole Grands Crus is to take an 18% stake in one of Bordeaux's largest wine companies, Vignobles Andre Lurton, which will pass out of 100% private ownership for the first time.
André Lurton (pictured) is owner of 264 hectares of vines in Pessac Léognan, and over 300ha in Entre deux Mers and AOC Bordeaux. He was born in 1924, and will turn 88 this year.
His succession has long been a subject of discussion in the region, and the announcement last week that CA Grands Crus is to take a stake in the company will reassure observers that the company is not to be broken up.
The remaining 82% of shares will remain with Lurton and his seven children.
Among the wines concerned are Chateau Bonnet, Chateau Rochemorin, Chateau La Louviere, and the Cru Classé de Graves Chateau Couhins-Lurton.
In total, the group produces over 4m bottles of wine per year, from seven chateaux, with a turnover in 2011 of €21.8m, 60% from exports.
Lurton’s two sons Jacques and François had worked alongside their father, but now each runs his own wine company.
His daughter Christine will continue to run Chateau Dauzac in the Médoc, which is owned by insurance company MAIF, but run by Vignobles Lurton.
Pascal Le Faucheur, director of Vignobles André Lurton, will continue running the group overall.
The vineyard arm of Credit Agricole bank, headed by CA Grand Crus director Thierry Budin, either invests in or part-owns dozens of Bordeaux estates. It owns in full Chateaux Grand-Puy Ducasse in Pauillac, Rayne-Vigneau in Sauternes and Meyney in Saint Estephe.
Credit Agricole has worked with André Lurton for over 40 years, and financed the majority of his vineyard purchases.
Development director Sophie Dano at CA Grands Crus in Paris confirmed to Decanter.com that the company typically assists shareholders where there are problems of succession, but that ‘there are no plans to change anything.
‘This is simply an investment of capital, and we have become minority shareholders.’
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux