Champ Private Equity

Champ Private Equity

January 31, 2011 19:31 ET

Media Announcement: CHAMP Completes Acquisition of Accolade Wines

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 31, 2011) - The CHAMP III Funds, advised by CHAMP Private Equity ("CHAMP"), are pleased to announce that the acquisition of an 80% interest in Accolade Wines, formerly known as Constellation Wines Australia and Europe, has been completed.

Announced in December 2010, the acquisition from Constellation Brands Inc. ("CBI") is valued at approximately A$290 million. Accolade Wines has a comprehensive portfolio of global brands covering a diverse range of styles and price points. Its well known brands include, in Australia, Hardys, Houghton, Banrock Station, Berri, Stanley and Omni; in South Africa, Kumala and Fish Hoek; and Echo Falls from the USA. Accolade Wines also holds a 50% interest in one of the largest UK alcoholic beverage wholesalers, Matthew Clark.

CHAMP Managing Director, John Haddock, said "CHAMP is in the business of identifying growth companies for investment by its Funds. It has a demonstrated track record of achieving sustainable earnings growth in its Funds' portfolio companies. We are known for supporting the capital requirements of the portfolio businesses and for backing outstanding management."

"I think everyone knows there are a number of challenges facing the wine industry but it's an important industry and we will be enthusiastic advocates for it."

"We see Accolade Wines as a company with strong fundamentals, a sound competitive position, a capacity to grow and an opportunity to re-invigorate its brands."

"Accolade Wines will work with CBI, which retains a 20% holding in the new entity, to distribute and supply each others products globally, " Mr. Haddock said.

Accolade CEO, Troy Christensen said, "the management team is looking forward to working with the new owners who are bringing open mindedness, fresh energy and an expansive approach to the business. Management and CHAMP consider the new name to be consistent with their aspirations for the future of the company."

Mr. Haddock said the new name signalled an intention to pursue high standards in everything the company does. "Whatever Accolade Wines produces or sells should be deserving of merit. CHAMP wants Accolade Wines to win praise from everyday consumers and from its business partners for the wines and services it provides."

About CHAMP Private Equity

The CHAMP group has offices in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia and affiliated offices in Singapore and New York, giving it an unrivalled reach amongst Australian based peers. This allows it to identify both Australian and cross border investments, as well as seeking international growth opportunities for existing investee companies.

Since inception in 1987, CHAMP and its predecessor funds have invested in more than 70 private equity investments across a broad range of sectors, including food and beverages, mining services, media, transport, industrial services, education, retail, agribusiness, health and financial services. Successfully exited investments include companies such as Austar Communications, United Malt Holdings, Study Group and Bradken. Current CHAMP investments include Manassen Foods, Centric Wealth, Alleasing, Golding Contractors, LCR Group, ATF Services and International Energy Services.

The investment philosophy at CHAMP is to identify companies that have value creation opportunities through earnings growth. Prudent leverage is a factor in the business model, however, the real driver of value creation is sustainable earnings growth based on superior management and investment in growth initiatives.

For further information on CHAMP Private Equity, visit www.champequity.com.

About Accolade Wines

Drawing on a proud heritage as one of the first wineries established in Australia, Accolade Wines has evolved into a global wine company with some of the world's best known brands sold in over 80 countries including the UK, Mainland Europe, Australia, the US, Canada, Japan and China.

The business is the number one wine company by volume in the UK and Australia with a portfolio of brands ranging from the historic Hardys, the number one Australian wine brand in the UK and significant wine brand in Mainland Europe, through to Kumala, the number one South African wine brand in the UK. The UK portfolio also includes Echo Falls, the fastest growing wine brand over the past three years and now the fifth largest wine brand, Stowells the number one wine brand in the on- premise trade, Banrock Station (Australia), Fish Hoek and Flagstone (South Africa), various other premium branded wines and a Wine Fusion portfolio, including Stone's Ginger Wine and Babycham. The Australian portfolio includes the historic Houghton label, which turns 175 this year, Banrock Station, Omni, Goundrey, Brookland Valley, Berri, Stanley, Amberley, Moondah Brook, Leasingham, Tintara, Tasmanian label Bay of Fires, plus sparkling brands House of Arras and Yarra Burn.

Headquartered in Reynella, South Australia, and with offices in London, Sydney, Singapore, Stellenbosch, Tokyo, Moscow and Amsterdam Accolade Wines has more than 1800 employees in Australia, the UK, Europe, Asia and South Africa.

For further information on Accolade Wines visit www.accolade-wines.com.

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