Major Australian wine company, Accolade Wines, the owner of more than 50 labels including Hardys, has been bought out by US private equity firm The Carlyle Group.
Carlyle managing director David Bluff says there is significant growth potential for Accolade in major wine markets in the Asian region.
Accolade has a portfolio of prominent brands including St Hallett, Petaluma and Banrock Station and is a major producer of cask wines.
“With our expertise in the consumer sector and access to a global network, we look forward to working with the management team to support the company’s Asia growth strategy and the continued development of its business,”Mr Bluff said.
Accolade, based in South Australia, is the largest winemaker in Australia and the world’s fifth-largest by volume, delivering about 35 million cases to more than 140 countries annually.
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Accolade’s new owners have appointed former Murray Goulburn chief executive Ari Mervis as executive chairman of the winery, a role he will step into in August.
Prior to Murray Goulburn, Mr Mervis ran the Asia-Pacific business of global beverage company SABMiller, which has since merged with fellow drinks giant AB-Inbev.
In September, Accolade announced it will be cutting 35 jobs from its grape processing operation Berri Estate in SA, citing high costs and falling consumer demand for cask wine.
Berri Estate employs 265 permanent staff and up to 415 staff in total in the busy harvest period.
Accolade is building a $40 million bottling plant at the Berri site, which is expected to create 40 jobs when it opens by the end of this year.
Carlyle has been active in Australia in recent years, including buying Sydney-based iNova Pharmaceuticals in September and selling its stake in Coates Hire to Seven Group in October.
The firm said as of the end of March, it has invested more than $US2 billion ($A2.6 billion) of equity in 10 transactions in Australia over the years.