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Stormhoek sold to Origin

Stormhoek, the brand launched by collapsed importer Orbital Wines, has been bought by South African company Origin Wine for an undisclosed sum.

Origin has also purchased the Camden Park brand and other trademarks owned by Orbital, which went into administration at the beginning of January along with parent company Bulk Brokers.

Based in Stellenbosch, Origin produces four million cases under its own name and also supplies top South African brand Kumala, owned by Constellation, with nearly the same quantity. It also produces Fairhills, a range of Faitrade wine from South Africa and Argentina.

‘There were several bidders for Stormhoek, and we ended up choosing Origin because they made the highest offer,’ said Paul Corlett, spokesperson for Menzies Corporate Restructuring.

‘The due diligence took longer than we envisaged, and now we are sending out reports to the creditors giving details of what they can expect, in accordance with the Insolvency Act.’

Orbital CEO Jason Korman, who was involved in the negotiations but would not disclose information about the other suitors or the sums, may remain connected with the Stormhoek brand.

‘I have offered to assist Origin, if that’s what they want,’ he said.

‘What they do with the brand in the medium term is a decision they have to make. They can either turn it into a straightforward trading brand, or keep up the interesting marketing strategy that we developed.’

Stormhoek made its name in 2006 by harnessing the then-new concept of viral marketing via the internet, and became one of the top-selling South African brands.

Korman said that supply to UK supermarkets has not been interrupted by the administration proceedings.

‘We did our best to load people up when we realised there were going to be problems,’ he said. ‘With respect to the grocery listings, I don’t think there have been any issues. And I am sure Origin plans to get product out immediately to the broader market as well.’

Written by Maggie Rosen

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