• Recapitalisation and restructure for Accolade Wines
    Recapitalisation and restructure for Accolade Wines
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Accolade Wines says the restructuring of its business and lenders agreeing to a recapitalisation plan will provide a more secure long-term future for the business. (Accolade Wines is #49 on the 2024 Top 100 Food & Drink Companies list)

Six years ago, The Carlyle Group acquired Accolade for $1 billion. It has agreed to let go of the company to the consortium Australian Wine Holdco Ltd (AWL).

AWL is made up of existing Accolade financial partners: Bain Capital Special Situations, Intermediate Capital Group, Capital Four, Sona Asset Management and Samuel Terry Asset Management.

In December it was reported that Bain Capital and Samuel Terry Asset Management had raided Accolade’s debt stack and bought $50 million of it at 38-40 cents in the dollar.

Bain will be the largest stakeholder in the consortium, agreeing to buy Accolade’s debt and take control.

Accolade Wines CEO, Robert Foye, said the company and wine industry overall, had been hit by several challenging macro-economic and industry headwinds in recent years.

“Despite our strong stable of brands and leadership positions in key markets, as well as operational measures taken to strengthen the business, our ability to respond to these challenges and grow has been hampered by an unsustainable balance sheet.

“With this recapitalisation and the support of our new shareholders, we will be ideally positioned to take advantage of the significant opportunities to meet customer demand and grow sales around the world,” Foye said.

Accolade is the second largest wine house in Australia behind Treasury Wine Estates. Its brands include Hardy’s, Banrock Station, Grant Burge, St Hallett, Petaluma, and Croser.

Last year it sold premium label, House of Arras, to Handpicked Wines, saying it no longer fit the rest of its portfolio focus.

Accolade said the recapitalisation plan will not result in “any immediate changes to Accolade’s operations, employee numbers or relationships with customers and suppliers”.

The plan is expected to be completed by mid-year, resulting in a substantial reduction in Accolade’s total senior interest-bearing debt. A corresponding reduction in annual interest expense and additional funding from each of AWL’s investors will provide greater operational flexibility to invest in the growth of the business for the benefit of all stakeholders, Accolade said.

An AWL spokesperson said, “Accolade Wines has a long, proud Australian history as a world-class wine producer, and we hope it will remain so for many decades to come.

“We hope this restructure will build a more secure long-term future of the business. We will be working with and supporting Accolade’s management to focus on operations and stakeholders.

“We recognise Accolade’s South Australian operations will be crucial to the success of the company and understand the important role the company plays in the local grape growing industry, and the broader South Australian economy. We are committed to working with Accolade’s business partners of growers and customers to ensure a sustainable business.”

The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.

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