Amorim & Irmaos SA has consolidated its position as the world's leading cork closure producer by acquiring a 50% stake in Equipar, a leading Portuguese cork producer, for an undisclosed price.

The company said that, as a result of this purchase, Amorim production capacity will increase significantly in the high demand segments of technical and natural whole cork stoppers.

In a statement, Victor Ribeiro, CEO of Amorim & Irmaos, said: "The quality challenge and high production requirements of the global wine industry are creating excellent opportunities for growth. Our unique corporate and financial strengths allow Amorim to quickly benefit from these opportunities and contribute significantly to a much-needed consolidation in the cork industry.

"The end result will be even better cork products at increasingly competitive prices - exactly what the market will require in the years ahead."

Production from the newly acquired unit is expected to be integrated into Amorim's quality systems during the third quarter of this year.