Remy move shocks Champagne world

on 04/03/11 at 8:33 am

Wine

Rémy Cointreau has surprised the Champagne world by announcing it has entered into exclusive negotiations with privately-held company EPI with a view to possibly selling its loss-making Champagne division, including the Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck brands.

While most industry observers anticipated bids to come in from established players in the Champagne region, EPI only counts a single, relatively unknown Château among its existing assets.

Although powerhouses LVMH and Pernod Ricard ruled themselves out of the bidding soon after Rémy Cointreau announced its intention to sell off the Champagne arm, rumours of interest from the likes of Nicolas Feuillatte and Boizel from the Champagne region itself, plus Davide Campari, suggested that an established drinks company would take over the brands.

Analysts value the Champagne unit at around €400 million ($650,760,000) – roughly four times its sales.

The division had sales of sales of €97m ($157,809,300) in 2009/10 – 12% of the group total.

It has promised to break even this year after suffering an operating loss of €4m ($6,507,600) last year amid the global economic turmoil.

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