AUS: Pendulum still keen on Evans & Tate - report
One of the three companies involved in a failed bale-out of ailing Australian wine company Evans & Tate has said it is still interested in buying the firm.
E&T went into voluntary receivership yesterday (21 August), after it was advised by Pendulum Capital, ANZ Bank and McWilliams Wines that the three firms were terminating an earlier deal to reinject capital into the company.
Speaking to local press, however, Peter Fogarty of Pendulum said the consortium was still keen to buy E&T. Fogarty told The West Australian newspaper that the group's offer had been foiled by key stakeholders who "were unforgiving and willing to bend".
Last month, E&T, which has struggled since the glut and drought of recent years in Australia, signed a restructure agreement with the consortium. Under the agreed deal, ANZ bank, which is owed around A$100m (US$84.3m) by the company, would have converted A$50m of its debt into 625m shares. Of these shares, just over 100m will be transferred to McWilliams Wines, with the balance held by ANZ and Pendulum Investor Group.
McWilliams would subsequently have handled the global distribution of E&T's core wine brands, with E&T looking to raise around A$17.6m from a one-for-two share entitlement issue, open to all shareholders. Thereafter, McWilliams was going to invest A$10m into the company in return for 100m of the new shares.
"We have our funding and our partners in place," Fogarty was cited as saying. "Our group remains together and is willing to go forward and we have to wait and see what the process is.
"Its fair to say that McWilliams and us still retain an interest in the (E&T) assets."
E&T has appointed Martin Jones and Bruce Carter of Ferrier Hodgson as administrators, while ANZ has appointed McGrath Nichol as receivers. A spokesperson for McGrath Nichol told just-drinks yesterday that the compnay will "internationally advertise both in Australia and off-shore, including the west coast of America" for a buyer for E&T.
In other reports from Australia yesterday, it emerged that wine grape growers from the Murray Valley region of Australia could be owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by E&T. The wine company has about 50 contracted growers in the region, ABC News reported, all of whom are due to receive their third and final payment for this year's vintage next month and are unsecured creditors.
"The prospect of getting all of the money back would appear to be fairly slim," Murray Valley Winegrowers' chief executive Mike Stone was cited as saying. "Having said that, that is entirely up to the receiver."
The sale of Evans & Tate is finally expected to close next week, local reports have claimed....
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