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NEW ZEALAND: Supermarkets are driving wine consolidation, says Montana chief Masfen

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Supermarkets are forcing the winemakers to consolidate in the same way that the spirits and beer industries have already done, says Montana executive chairman Peter Masfen.A spate of wine company acquisitions in the New World in the last couple of months has sparked interest in what was traditionally a fractured market with no players matching the size of the big beer/spirits conglomerates."Global companies are able to represent a diverse range of wines and types," said Masfen.His comments come in the week that Australian brewer Lion Nathan announced its intention to take another 5% of Montana, New Zealand's biggest wine maker and one of the biggest exports to the UK.Foster's and Southcorp are also understood to be looking at buying a wine company, with Foster's tipped to buy Corbans, possibly as early as next week, for around NZ$100m.But industry sources suggest that the buying spree will not end with New Zealand. Foster's and Southcorp are understood to be looking at acquisitions in the US and South Africa.Rumours also surround Diageo which may be looking to buy wine producers."Big players have the market strength to attract buyers. Grocery stores are becoming an increasingly significant outlet for wine. The supermarkets tend to be in the hands of big global companies and they like to deal with other big companies."David Robertson


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