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FRANCE: IWF makes $A1.3m move on French Groupe Laroche

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Groupe Laroche, the 150-year-old premium Chablis and Languedoc producer, has attracted 'toe in the water' interest from listed Australian fund, The International Wine Investment Fund.IWF has bought an FFr5.1m ($A1.3m) stake in La Roche, giving it a 4% holding. The stock was bought from Jafco St Honori , a subsidiary of Rothschilds which is a substantial La Roche shareholder.La Roche, in which the La Roche family currently holds 78% of shares, plans to list on the subsidiary board of the Paris Bourse on July 12.It has a turnover of FFr185m and an aggressive expansion plan aimed at doubling its size, with strong emphasis on distribution and marketing, in the next few years.General manager of IWF's asset manager, Berren Asset Management, Chris Day, said that IWF would consider investing further funds in La Roche if growth targets were achieved.La Roche exports to 70 countries, its main brands being Domaine Laroche, Chateau de Chemilly and Domaine La Chevaliere.Berren's investment manager, Rupert Clifton Bligh, said that IWF, which now had $A160m in assets, was expecting to announce further investments shortly.One is expected to be a substantial stake in newly merged South Australian wine company Tatachilla-St Hallet, as predicted three weeks ago by just-drinks.com. Chris Snow


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