New French wine giant formed

New French wine giant formed

French wine firms Jeanjean and Laroche have completed a merger deal that will see their combined business become France's third largest wine producer.

The groups announced yesterday (3 February) that the merger, which values Laroche at EUR24.7m (US$36.4m), has received regulatory clearance in France.

Their combined business will be named ADVINI and will have an annual turnover of EUR190m from 1,450 hectares of vines across southern France, Chablis and also parts of the New World.

"This merger represents a vital step in the light of the challenges facing the wine industry worldwide," said Antoine Leccia, chairman of Jeanjean and who will become chairman of ADVINI.

Jeanjean will hold 49% of ADVINI, with Laroche owning 11%. Private shareholders across Europe will make up the remainder of shares.

Leccia has long argued for more consolidation on France's wine industry to help the sector compete more effectively against the big brands of the New World.

Michel Laroche, chairman of Laroche, agreed. "The pooling of our skills and the resulting synergies will provide us with the means to push forward with the development of premium brands both in France and abroad, while significntly improving the profitability of both groups," he said.

Laroche will be a director on ADVINI's board.