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Aus: Australia's Wine Fund closes on potential FF40m deal in Chablis

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An initial FF5m investment in a premium wine producer/distributor, believed to be headquartered in Chablis in France, is expected to be announced soon by the Australian Wine and Horticultural Fund.The Fund - to be renamed The International Wine Investment Fund from tomorrow (Wednesday) - is planning to eventually lift the investment to FF40m.The investment is likely to be the Fund's first since a controversial major restructure, opposed in its initial forms by institutional investors, earlier this year.The Fund, which is BRL Hardy's major shareholder with 13% of the stock, is also close to finalising a $A5m investment which will give it a 10% stake in the recently merged Tatachilla-St Hallet winery.It is also about to invest another $A5 million in five vineyards in four States. The Fund has also redeemed $A6m of convertible notes in Australia's dominant fruit juice producer, Berri Ltd, and is preparing to shed its stakes in Chiquita Brands South Pacific and almond producer Select Harvests.Chris Snow


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