Suntory Holdings has raised its presence in Frances wine industry

Suntory Holdings has raised its presence in France's wine industry

French drinks group Castel and Japan's Suntory Holdings have signed a draft agreement with Covéa, a French mutual insurance group, and Belgian insurer Ethias for the purchase of their wine interests, which include Grands Millésimes de France.

The value of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, has not been disclosed. The proposed deal will see Castel and Suntory jointly control Grands Millésimes, each holding a 50% stake. Suntory has been a shareholder in the company since 1989.

Grands Millésimes owns Château-Beychevelle and Château Beaumont, as well as Bordeaux trader Barrières Frères.

The other wine assets in the deal - Bordeaux estates, Tour St Christophe (St Emilion Grand Cru), Tour Musset (Montagne St Emilion) and Château Haut Caplane (Sauternes), distribution company Distribution Bordeaux Grands Crus Références and mail order wine and spirits merchant Savour Club - will be acquired by Castel.