Multi-millionaire Indian businessman Analjit Singh has bought a stake in top South Africa winery Mullineux from English investor Keith Prothero.
The sale of Prothero’s shares in the Swartland producer sees it change its name from Mullineux Family Wines to Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines. ‘Leeu’, or ‘lion’, is Afrikaans for Singh, and the name of Singh’s local business Leeu International Investments.
Financial details, and the exact size of Singh’s share, were not disclosed. But, the founders of Mullineux, US husband-and-wife winemaking team Andrea and Chris Mullineux, still own the company and remain in operational control, with Peter Dart also staying on as a minority shareholder.
The deal is another sign of growing investment interest in South African wine. In August, Perfect China said that it had acquired an undisclosed stake in Val de Vie‘s wine cellar, vineyards and manor House.
Delhi-based Singh (pictured above, centre) said his own investment was ‘an integral part’ of growing his private and family business interests, internationally and in South Africa. He already owns three adjoining farms in Franschhoek: Dassenberg, Von Ortloff and Dieu Donné.
Andrea and Chris Mullineux said that they remain ‘as dedicated as ever’ to their minimalist approach to winemaking.
Founded in 2007 and based at Riebeek Kasteel, Mullineux has quickly acquired a strong reputation for its range of wines, including a white blend, a trio of Syrahs and a Straw Wine.
Singh, 59, ranks 87th on the list of Forbes’ list of India’s richest people, with an estimated fortune of US$725m. He founded healthcare and insurance conglomerate Max India Group, of which he is chairman with a 39% stake, and is also non-executive chairman of Vodafone India.
Written by Richard Woodard