Following a period of acute operating and financial conditions, Accolade Wines has reached an agreement with Australian Wine Holdco Limited (“AWL”) on a recapitalisation plan that aims to improve the financial stability of the company.
The recapitalisation plan will see the AWL, a consortium of international institutional investors, take equity ownership of Accolade, resulting in a change of control from existing shareholders. The agreement will allow Accolade Wines to significantly reduce its total senior interest-bearing debt, offering it greater operating flexibility and access to funds that will assist in the expansion of the business.
“This agreement is great news for Accolade, our customers, our suppliers and our people,” said Robert Foye, CEO.
“Like all Australian winemakers, we have been hit by a number of challenging macro-economic and industry headwinds in recent years.
“Despite our strong stable of brands and leadership positions in key markets, as well as operational measures taken to strengthen the business, our ability to respond to these challenges and grow has been hampered by an unsustainable balance sheet.”
The recapitalisation plan, set to be implemented mid-year, will not result in any immediate changes to Accolade’s operations, employee numbers, or customer and supplier relationships.
“Accolade Wines has a long, proud Australian history as a world-class wine producer and we hope it will remain so for many decades to come,” said an AWL spokesperson.
“We hope this restructure, if implemented, will help build a more secure long-term future of the business. We will be working with and supporting Accolade’s management to focus on operations and stakeholders.”
The AWL comprises funds backed by Bain Capital Special Situations, Intermediate Capital Group, Capital Four, Sona Asset Management, and Samuel Terry Asset Management.
“We recognise Accolade Wines’ South Australian operations will be crucial to the success of the company and understand the important role the company plays in the local grape growing industry, and the broader South Australian economy.
“We are committed to working with Accolades’ business partners of growers and customers to rebuild a sustainable business.”
Accolade Wines is one of the world’s leading premium wine producers, delivering millions of litres of wine to 130 different countries every year. Robert Foye believes the new recapitalisation plan will create new opportunities for the company.
“With this recapitalisation and the support of our new shareholders, we will be ideally positioned to take advantage of the significant opportunities to meet customer demand and grow sales around the world,” he said.