Spanish financier Juan Abello has increased his stake in leading Rioja producer CVNE to 15.14%, following the purchase of an additional 9.3% at a cost of EURO19.83m (US$17.36).

Abello who made the acquisition through his Torreal investment company bought his initial 5% stake in April.

Compania Vinicola del Norte (CVNE ) had a turnover in 2000 of Euro30.68m, producing a net profit of Euor9.1m. Its principal brands include CVNE , Imperial and Viña Real.

Other shareholders and the executive board have viewed the investment as positive, as it gives them stability and allows the company to plan properly for the future.

CVNE is in the middle of an important expansion program, with a new winery being built in Laguardia , which will increase capacity by 50%. The new installations will be in use following this year's harvest but construction work will not be completed until spring 2002.

Wines & Spirits in Spain 2001