US: Mondavi lays out lifestyle wine plans
Robert Mondavi has given further details concerning its move into premium lifestyle wine.
Speaking at the Bank of America Securities 34th Annual Investment Conference held in San Francisco yesterday (20 September), Gregory M. Evans, president and CEO of the wine company, said: "Our goal is to enhance our position as a leading premium lifestyle wine company, with strong profitability and financial returns, and significant growth opportunities in a very attractive category."
"Premium wine volumes in the US continue to expand at over 4% per year, and the growing population of baby boomers suggests that these trends will continue for the next five years," he added. Evans also stated that, although the company was early in the process and that there could be no assurances, the company expects to complete the potential divestiture of the luxury and non-strategic assets within one year, and estimates, subject to Audit Committee review, to realise between US$400m and US$500m in net after-tax proceeds from the divestitures under current wine industry and general economic conditions.
Evans laid out a three point plan for the company which called for focusing on and investing in the company's attractive premium lifestyle wine business, capturing value from its luxury wine and other assets through divestitures that significantly exceed current public market values, and achieving financial flexibility through these cash proceeds to pursue value enhancing strategic and financial opportunities.
"If we successfully complete the asset divestitures, we should have the flexibility to pursue attractive strategic opportunities such as increasing organic growth, developing new products, and expanding international business and to consider other ways to enhance shareholder value," said Evans.
Evans concluded his conference remarks by saying, "Under the leadership of Ted Hall, as chairman, the board brings a wealth of global branding, M&A, financial and consumer packaged goods (CPG) experience to bear. The management team, which now has a very strong CPG focus, is energised as never before to build upon a foundation anchored by two of the strongest brands in the premium wine business: Woodbridge and Robert Mondavi Private Selection."
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