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FRANCE: Rémy Cointreau lines up Champagne divestment with EPI talks

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Rémy Cointreau has moved a step closer to selling off its Champagne division, with the opening of talks with France's Societe Europeenne de Participations Industrielles (EPI).

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The wine and spirits company, which announced back in November that it was looking to divest its Champagne operations, confirmed earlier today (28 February) that it has entered into “exclusive negotiations” with EPI with a view to “possibly selling” its Champagne division. Included in the sale would be the Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck Champagne brands.

EPI, a family-owned group run by Christopher Descours, operates in the premium goods arena, owning the French trademarks J.M. Weston and François Pinet shoes, Bonpoint children's clothes, Alain Figaret shirts and the Château La Verrerie winery. The company “also carries out a diversified investment policy”, according to Rémy.

“In the event of a favourable outcome to the negotiations,” Rémy said, “the conclusion of a sale agreement would only occur after consultation with the concerned employees representative bodies and authorisation from the board of directors of Rémy Cointreau”.

No financial details were given, although analysts believe that the unit could fetch between EUR300m (US$413.9m) and EUR400m.

Last month, French rival LVMH Moet Hennessy was linked to a possible move for the Champagne unit.


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