The local debt free South Island electricity supply company has purchased an 80 per cent stake in YWG, NZ’s sixth-largest wine exporter, for $89 million.
Yealands specifically accepted Malborough Lines’ purchase offer in keeping with his intention to keep the winery fully NZ-owned.
Yealands has reduced his majority shareholding from 75 per cent to 15 per cent, with CEO, Jason Judkins, holding the remaining five per cent.
Minority shareholder Ager Sectus Wine Estates (AWSE) had relinquished its 25 per cent stake in YWG as a result of the sale.
Marlborough Lines had realised $N100 million in cash from investments, which it wanted to reinvest locally.
“Opportunities to invest in the electricity industry are limited and this led to us looking to other options,” said Marlborough Lines managing director, Ken Forrest.
“We are satisfied that this will be a successful investment which will broaden our asset base for the benefit of the people of Marlborough.”
Yealands said he will remain 100 per cent committed to the company.
“There is no change, I will continue in the same role as founder, and ambassador of the company’s wine.
“It’s a very large business for a one-man band but I will still do all the things I’ve always done. But I hope to get out of my office a little more and assist in the winemaking.
“The company is continuing to perform well ahead of forecast with unparalleled demand both domestically and internationally.
“The current vintage is going to be one of the best on record and our 2015 wines our finest yet.”
Yealands Wine was created in 2011 through the merger of Yealands Estate Wines and AWSE. It has 1,200 ha of vines and exports more than one million cases a year to over 80 countries.
The company is primarily looking to expand in Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough.