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Hardys owner agrees deal to buy Grant Burge Wines

A fresh takeover trend has gathered pace in Australia's wine industry after Hardys owner Accolade Wines said it had agreed a deal to buy Grant Burge Wines in Barossa for an undisclosed fee.

The view from the tasting room at Grant Burge’s Meshach Cellar in Barossa

Accolade, which is itself 80% owned by Sydney-based Champ Private Equity, said it has agreed to acquire the Grant Burge business, including the brand name and the historic Krondorf winery in Tanunda, Barossa.

The Hardys owner said the deal is subject to ‘certain third party conditions’, which it did not disclose, but it expects to complete the buyout in January 2015. Financial details were not disclosed.

Its move comes less than a month after the Casella family, owner of the Yellow Tail brand, said it had bought control of Peter Lehmann Wines.

The deals indicate a new round of consolidation in Australia. Wineries have seen profits come under pressure in recent years, faced with oversupply, stronger competition in key export markets and exchange rate swings.

Grant Burge Wines has annual sales of around A$45m (£24m), according to the Barossa Herald newspaper. It was founded in 1988, although the Burge family has been making wine in Australia for five generations.

Privately-held Accolade Wines had net sales of £621.7m in the year to the end of June 2013, according to its latest accounts filed with Companies House in the UK. Net profits were £10.1m, after lower costs helped the group to improve on profits of £657,000 in the previous year.

Grant Burge was the 13th biggest Australian wine company by dollar sales, while Accolade was number three, in a list published in April 2014 by industry publication Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker. Casella was fourth and Peter Lehmann 16th on the same list.

US-based Constellation Brands, owner of Robert Mondavi wines, still owns 20% of Accolade.

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Written by Chris Mercer

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