April 12, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
New survey sheds light on retail execution benchmarks
Several months of talks appear to have come to nothing for Constellation Brands and Australian Vintage, after the two wine firms last week ended plans to merge their Australian wine businesses.
Australian Vintage had been set to gain full control of a merged entity, and some company executives had privately described the deal as a must-have chunk of consolidation in the faltering Australian wine industry. It seems, however, that neither party could agree terms.
The breakdown will force Constellation to think again on its plan to restructure wine operations in Australia and the UK. The California-based firm's sales remain under pressure, as shown by its full-year results last week, and cost savings will again be the order of the day in 2010.
More broadly, the failure of the transaction serves to show how the Australian wine industry is currently in a state of flux. With Foster's having had to go it alone since it decided a year ago to keep its struggling wine business, the collapse of the JV idea must surely alert anyone with any money to the potential for bargains Down Under.
Does anyone have any money?
Meanwhile, on the features front last week, we considered the reliance of the soft drinks industry on its tried and tested brands as consumers' tighten their spend. We also ran the first part of an African double-header interview, with a chat with Diageo's managing director of the continent, Nick Blazquez. Part two of our Africa special, an interview with Tom de Man, president of Africa and Middle East for Heineken, will run this week.
Finally, it's come around once again. This year's London International Wine Fair & Distil is almost upon us (don't forget to register) and, as in recent years, we will run our daily diary in the run-up to the trade fair.
To include your company's announcements and activities, please send your LIWF-related news to us at email@example.com.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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