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Verlinvest in talks to pick up minority stake in Grover Zampa


At enterprise value of INR 200 crore, deal still in the making, but will be a minority stake.

Verlinvest SA, the Belgian private equity fund created by the founding families of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is set to consolidate its position in the Indian wine industry and is in advanced talks to acquire a minority stake in Grover Zampa Vineyards, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Verlinvest already holds about 15% in India’s largest wine maker, Nashik Vintners, known for its Sula brand. Nashik Vintners has a 45-50% share of the Indian wine industry, while Grover Zampa has around 15%.

“The deal will help Verlinvest consolidate its position as the largest stakeholder in the Indian wine industry,” said one of the two people cited above, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In 2012, Bengaluru-based Grover Vineyards merged with Nashik-based Vallee de Vin to form Grover Zampa Vineyards, the third largest Indian vintner after Sula. Vallée de Vin was floated in 2006 by liquor industry veterans Deepak Roy, executive vice-chairman, Allied Blenders and Distillers, and Ravi Jain, a former managing director of Shaw Wallace and Co.

In Grover Zampa, chairman Kapil Grover holds about a 38% stake, Jain; Neeraj Deorah and Roy hold about 20%, and the rest is held by various investors, including Singapore-based investor Ravi Viswanathan and Reliance Capital.

“The deal is likely to happen at an enterprise value of about INR 200 crore for Grover Zampa,” said the second person cited above who asked not to be identified.

“We do not comment on rumours,” said a spokesperson for Verlinvest, while Kapil Grover did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Last year, Viswanathan acquired about 30% in Nashik Vintners along with Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Capital. Through a secondary transaction, the duo had bought the stake owned by private equity firm Everstone Capital Advisors. According to a report in Business Standard, Viswanathan bought a 11% stake while Reliance Capital acquired 19% in Sula. The deal was done through Visvires Indian Wineries Pvt. Ltd, a vehicle floated for investments in India. Viswanathan already holds a significant minority stake in Grover Zampa Vineyards along with Reliance Capital.

According to a survey by Vinexpo SAS, which runs wine exhibitions and also a wine website, wine consumption in India is likely to increase 73% to 2.1 million cases by 2017 from 1.21 million in 2013. “More than 61% of the wines drunk in India are red, which is expected to grow 71.6% between 2013 and 2017,” it said.

Source: Live Mint

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