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Yealands seeks funds to buy more NZ vineyards

New Zealand wine firm Yealands has said it may sell shares in its business to raise funds for vineyard purchases, as it seeks to become the country's largest producer.

A panoramic view of Yealands land in Marlborough

Yealands said it has recruited financial advisers at UBS bank to help it work on options for raising capital.

One possibility is to sell a stake in the business via an Initial Public Offering of shares, it said, adding that it needs more vineyard land to meet expected future demand for its wines.

The move comes amid a prosperous period for New Zealand wine exports.

Trade body New Zealand Winegrowers said in its 2014 annual report that exports had reached NZ$1.3bn per year, up 60% since 2008, and would likely hit $1.5bn once the bumper 2014 vintage is released. It is aiming for $2bn in exports by 2020.

‘It is mainly Sauvignon Blanc that we are targeting, although we are short on most varietals across the board,’ Peter Yealands, majority shareholder in his namesake company, told Decanter.com.

‘We need to grow production substantially and it is my goal to ultimately become New Zealand’s number one producer.

‘We will be investing in Marlborough land and also considering existing vineyards as long as they have a proven history of producing quality grapes. Our window of opportunity is just a few years as grape land in Marlborough is getting scarce and expensive.’

He said that the group needs fresh capital to achieve its ambition. Yealands already comprises around 1,000 hectares of vineyard, spread over a distance of around 1,600km.

Written by Chris Mercer

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