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Suitors for Stormhoek line up

Over 20 bidders are lined up to take over Stormhoek and the other brands launched by the collapsed Orbital Wines.

Orbital was put into administration at the beginning of January, along with parent company Bulk Brokers, and has been seeking buyers for its flagship Stormhoek, Camden Park and other brands.

‘We’ve received in excess of 20 bids, of which four or five are serious but we don’t have a preferred bidder yet,’ said Paul Corlett of administrators Menzies Corporate Restructuring. ‘We expect to complete a sale of the brands by Friday,’

Corlett would reveal neither the types of companies in the line-up, nor an idea of the sums being offered.

‘There are a number of considerations when deciding on who the preferred bidder is,’ he said.

‘Clearly the amount is the key thing, but also the company’s ability to do the deal and that it is the best deal for the creditors of the companies as a whole. All bidders so far have an interest on developing the brand.’

Orbital shot into the spotlight in late 2006 by successfully exploiting the potential of viral marketing, garnering publicity for its own South African brand, Stormhoek. In September 2007, Stormhoek targeted Microsoft with a bespoke wine called Blue Monster.

By its own count, Orbital was selling 200,000 cases of Stormhoek in the UK within three years of launch. In addition to its brands, Orbital acted as agency for Raats (South Africa), Marambo (Australia) and several Italian producers.

Bruwer Raats, of Raats Family Wines, said he is in the process of seeking another importer.

‘The UK is our second biggest market in terms of both value and volume, after the US,’ said Raats.

‘We have some great listings – the Tate Modern, Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, The Fat Duck. We are committed to supplying these clients without interruption, and to finding an importer who will look after us as well as Orbital did.’

Written by Maggie Rosen

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