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McWilliam’s Wines bought out of administration by Prcstnt Asset Management

McWilliam’s Wines has been taken out of family ownership for the first time in more than 140 years after a sale to newly formed Prcstnt Asset Management.

Creditors of McWilliam’s Wines, one of Australia’s oldest wine brands, have approved a sale to private equity interests managed by Prcstnt Asset Management.

McWilliam’s Wines was placed into voluntary administration in January as the result of a changing wine market and shortage of capital, with the business expected to attract PE investment.

Colliers International was appointed by administrator KPMG to oversee a sale of the business, which was approved at a creditor meeting on July 24.

The buyer is newly formed asset management firm Prcstnt – pronounced ‘persistent’ – which is headed by executive chairman Charles Hunting. He was previously a managing partner at Chinese technology investor Tsing Capital. Hunting has also held senior leadership positions with professional services firms Genpact and Accenture in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

The source of Prcstnt’s capital is unknown, but Australia media reports suggest the takeover has been backed by Asian investors.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed. Prcstnt and Hunting did not respond to requests for comment.

Agri Investor understands that the Prcstnt bid was preferred to a rival offer led by David McWilliam, which would have kept the business in family hands.

The sale of McWilliam’s included the Hanwood winery in the Riverina region of New South Wales. Hanwood is one of the largest wineries in Australia with an operational processing capacity of approximately 42,000 tonnes.

Also included in the deal were the Mount Pleasant winery in NSW’s Hunter Valley and the company’s brands, including McWilliam’s, McW and Mount Pleasant.

The business recorded revenues of A$97 million ($69 million; €59 million) and a 9LE (9 litre equivalent cases) sales volume of 1.3 million in the 2019 financial year.

Other large Australian wine businesses have come into private equity hands in recent years. The most high-profile was Accolade Wines, which was acquired by Carlyle Group for A$1 billion in 2018.