The Pressoirs de France group, supplier of cheap Champagne to major UK supermarkets, has been saved by an investment from Switzerland-based French businessman Michel Reybier.
Myriam and Nicolas Dubois (pic: lunion.presse.fr)
Reybier, who has substantial interests in food manufacturing as well as owning wine estates Cos d’Estournel, Château-Marbuzet and Goulée Médoc in Bordeaux and Tokaj-Hétszolo Estate in Hungary, outbid a rival investor to purchase the business which went into receivership in March 2013 with estimated liabilities of €67m.
While most observers expected the Pressoirs de France group to be broken up with its remaining assets – namely 10.67 hectares of vines worth an estimated €11-15m plus 165ha of supply contracts – sold off to the highest bidder as court appointed administrator Jean-Luc Mercier set out to do, owner Nicolas Dubois remained optimistic that a rescue package could be found.
In the end there were two bids on the table for the Faverolles & Coëmy-based business with Reybier competing against American couple Denise Dupré and Mark Nunnely, new owners of Champagne Leclerc Briant who were looking to buy vineyards to ensure grape supplies for their brand.
Administrator Mercier ruled in favour of the undisclosed Reybier bid, which guaranteed the jobs of the existing 32 Pressoirs de France employees as well as committing to pay off the entire company’s debts for wine, purchased sur lattes and grapes from the 2012 harvest.
Written by Giles Fallowfield