Vasari Global, an investment group run by a former Whyte & Mackay CEO, is set to buy a controlling share of South African wine and spirits maker KWV.

It was confirmed last week that Vasari would acquire the operational assets of KWV – amounting to 57% of the company – from current owner, Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), for 1.15 billion rand.

The deal includes production facilities, brands and existing stocks of wine and brandy although certain “heritage” assets will remain part of KWV. These include nonoperational assets such as the Laborie Estate, KWV’s art collection and the head office building in La Concorde (Paarl).

The amount being paid by Varsari amounts to ZAR17 a share, more than three times the last traded price of KWV shares.

HCI’s subsidiary, Niveus, paid ZAR11.8 a share when it acquired its 35% stake from PSG in 2010.

Niveus said Vasari’s offer had “warranted acceptance”.

Vasari owner, Imerman, said that the acquisition was “in line” with his group’s strategy of building an alcohol beverage group across emerging markets in Africa and Asia.

“With KWV’s collective expertise and outr experience in production, distribution and branding, we loo forward to extending KWV’s legacy,” he said.

The deal now awaits the approval of the South African competition authorities.

Imerman is well known in South Africa for owning the Del Monte fruit company in the 1980s and ‘90s and in the drinks world he owned and ran whisky company Whyte & Mackay from 2001 to 2007 when it was sold to United Spirits.

KWV is one of South Africa’s leading wine and spirits producers. Founded as a co-operative in 1918 today its wine brands include Roodeberg, Cathedral Cellar and Pearly Bay and its chief spirits label is cream brandy ‘Wild Africa’.

Source: The Drinks Business – Rupert Millar