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Cordier echoes Mondavi in asset sale

Major Bordeaux negociant Cordier is selling off its most prestigious assets in order to concentrate on its branded wines.

In a move which echoes Robert Mondavi’s recent sale of 90% of its portfolio, the long-established Bordeaux house is selling Chateau Grand-Puy-Ducasse in Pauillac, Chateau Rayne-Vigneau in Sauternes, crus bourgeois Chateaux Meyney (Saint-Estèphe), Lamothe Bergeron, Plagnac and Blaignan. The total land sold amounts to 300ha.

According to press reports Cordier – which is a part of the Val d’Orbieu group – is facing debts of €115m, appreciably greater than its sales of €80m.

Robert Thompson, UK director of the group, told decanter.com that the group wanted to concentrate on its three major brands, Sensual Fruit, Collection Privee and Cuvee Prestige.

Earlier this month Mondavi of California sold almost all its high-end assets in order to concentrate on Woodbridge and other top-selling low-margin brands.

In total there are some 12 red and white wines under the three brands, all retailing for under £10. Many are listed in major UK supermarkets.

‘We want to put all our emphasis into producing good quality wine at affordable prices,’ Thompson said. ‘The brands are winning accolades from prestigious wine competitions – in particular we’ve had great success with Cuvee Prestige.’

Thompson could not comment on the company’s debt except to say there are ‘very high stock levels of premium wines.’

He added, ‘It is worth noting that after the sale we are now the only company in Bordeaux without any debt.’

Yves Barsalu remains president of the company and Alain Duhau will continue as managing director. There are no other staff changes.

The six domaines have been bought by a consortium put together by Credit Agricole.

Thompson stressed that Cordier would continue a close relationship with the domaines as a negociant, and would still be active in the en primeur business.

Written by Adam Lechmere, and Antony le Ray-Cook in Bordeaux

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