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Sogrape buys Bodegas LAN

In the first major takeover of a Spanish wine business by a Portuguese rival, Portugal’s Sogrape has acquired Rioja-based Bodegas LAN from its private equity owner for an undisclosed sum.

The deal with Spanish investment group Mercapital includes Fuenmayor-based LAN’s main operations in Rioja, as well as its brands from the Rias Baixas, Rueda and Ribera del Duero appellations.

Bodegas LAN, founded in 1972, has 108 hectares of vineyards in Rioja and Rias Baixas and wine production facilities in both regions.

The company also owns the Santiago Ruiz brand in Rias Baixas, and recently launched new wines Duquesa de Valladolid (Rueda) and Marqués de Burgos (Ribera del Duero).

With an annual production of 3.5m litres and turnover last year of €18.6m, LAN’s most successful product is its LAN Crianza from Rioja, a 100% Tempranillo wine that accounts for more than 50% of the company’s sales.

LAN has its own distribution operation in Spain and exports 30% of its production to markets including the US, Switzerland and Mexico.

Describing the acquisition as ‘an ambitious and daring project within an adverse economic framework’, Sogrape president Salvador Guedes said: ‘We have always envisaged the possibility of seizing a business opportunity to acquire a relevant player in Spain, as a means of guaranteeing future sustainability and reinforcing the company’s position in priority markets.’

Sogrape is Portugal’s biggest wine company, its portfolio including Mateus and the Sandeman, Ferreira and Offley Port houses, as well as Finca Flichman in Argentina, New Zealand’s Framingham, and Los Boldos in Chile, plus the Sandeman Sherry business in Spain.

The company said LAN’s current management team, including CEO Enrique Abiega, would remain in place following the acquisition.

Written by Richard Woodard

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