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Financial protection upped ahead of 2008 campaign

Financial turmoil surrounding the 2008 en primeur campaign has seen merchants on both sides of the Channel taking unprecedented steps to guarantee payments and deliveries.

Berry Bros & Rudd took out insurance against Bordeaux negociants’ in 2006 and 2007 to guard against them going bust before the wine being delivered. ‘This this is even more important for 2008 – we will only work with negociants who are able to open bank guarantees,’ Simon Staples told decanter.com.

Leading negociants including Villa des Crus and Barriere Freres are providing guarantees of their own liquidity but also tightening rules for buyers. Purchasers must pass increasingly rigorous credit checks before wine can be bought with leading credit agency Coface tightening its terms.

A negociant was worried about the effect of this on the campaign. ‘I am having to ask all my long-term clients, many of whom are small businesses, to prove their credit worthiness before we even begin trying to sell them wine. And many of them, even reputable businesses, are finding it difficult to meet the requirements. It is making things tougher than ever,’ he said.

Written by Jane Anson

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