Indian group swallows French wine producer

5th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 4, 2006 (AFP) - The Indian United Breweries group has bought a major French wine producer in the west-central Loire region, the US investment company Starwood Capital said Tuesday.

PARIS, July 4, 2006 (AFP) - The Indian United Breweries group has bought a major French wine producer in the west-central Loire region, the US investment company Starwood Capital said Tuesday.

The price paid for the Saumur-based Bouvet-Ladubay, "exceeds the 15 million dollars (EUR 11.7 million)" previously mentioned, Starwood said.

"We undertake to develop Bouvet's major brands abroad, including in emerging markets where we have a strong presence," said United Breweries' head Vijay Mallya in a statement.

The deal should be completed by the end of next week, according to Starwood.

In May, United Breweries Group, which also has interests in construction and an airline named after its leading beer brand, Kingfisher, shelved plans to buy French champagne house Taittinger after French regional bank Crédit Agricole du Nord Est topped its bid.

"Crédit Agricole was the winning bidder. There is a sentiment that champagne assets should remain in France," Mallya said.

"So we peacefully bowed out of the process. I was not prepared to get into a bidding war because that would have diluted the shareholder value for United Breweries. That was not something I was prepared to do," he said.

He said he did not foresee any hurdles to the acquisition of Bouvet-Ladubay, a division of Taittinger.

At the end of May the Crédit Agricole paid EUR 660 million (845 million dollars) (debt included) for Taittinger in a deal due to be finalised in August.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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