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New Evans & Tate deal could end saga

The long running Evans & Tate saga looks set to end following the announcement that a legally binding restructuring agreement has been signed.

The Australian wine producer announced last week that they had signed the agreement with investment group Pendulum Capital, wine company McWilliams, and its bankers ANZ.

Under the new plan announced on 27 July, ANZ and Pendulum will have 48% of Evans & Tate (E&T), McWilliams 25%, with the rest held by the company’s existing shareholders.

E&T will also enter into a global distribution agreement with McWilliams. The new deal is expected to be finalised by the end of October.

In June Pendulum, part owned by Peter Fogarty of the Fogarty Wine Group, offered a rescue package after E&T’s restructuring plan with ANZ collapsed after the bank was unable to find a co-investor. Soon after another Western Australian producer, Ferngrove Vineyards, also made a merger bid.

On 24 July Australian wine producers Yarraman, who had bid for E&T in December 2006, made a new offer. The new bid was rejected by the E&T board. Ferngrove also withdrew their bid.

Having failed to merge with Evans & Tate the future for the US registered Yarraman Winery does not look rosy. In the nine months to 31st March 2007 they lost US$3.3m (£1.6m) and their debt has risen to US$9.7m (£4.8m).

Written by Jim Budd

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