Grover Vineyards to buy wineries of United Spirits and HCC for US$9.4m

INDIA – Grover Zampa Vineyards, the second largest winemaker in India is set to acquire the wine assets of United Spirits (USL) and Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) for US$9.49 million to bolster its sales in the region, reports Times of India.

Grover Zampa, backed by I-banker Ravi Viswanathan, a French national based in Singapore is looking to become the largest vineyard and wine producing company in India.

The market is dominated by Sula Vineyards, Nashik based producer of Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel grape varietals.

Sula, which held a market share of almost 70% in the Indian Wine Industry as of 2013, sells more than 1 million cases in a year whereas Grover Zampa sells 260,000 cases annually.

USL’s wine brand is Four Seasons, while HCC’s is Charosa.

Four Seasons’ vineyards is spread over 50 acres in Baramati, while Charosa’s winery is nestled amid 230-acre vineyards in Charosa village, both in Maharashtra.

Vijay Mallya, former Chairman and promoter of USL led the company into the wine business in 2006 in partnership with the Sharad Pawar family.

Grover Zampa (GZV), which has vineyards in Nandi Hills, Karnataka and in Nashik, Maharashtra, acquired the Bangalore-headquartered wine brand, Myra Vineyards earlier this month.

It also appointed Ajay Shetty as chief lifestyle officer of GZV, reporting to Group CEO Vivek Chandramohan.

Recently, GZV secured significant funding led by Singapore-based wine investor Ravi Viswanathan to construct a new winery in scenic Nandi Hills, which will house state-of-the-art production facilities as well as a wine tourism oasis. 

Following the successful close of its £1.1 billion (US$1.40 billion) tender offer for USL in 2014, Diageo seemed not interested in the wine business.

It acquired 54.7% of USL with an offer of 38 billion shares at 3,030 rupees, a premium of 18% to USL’s share in mid-April.

Diageo began talks with Mallya about USL in late 2008, but at that stage the Indian entrepreneur put what Diageo’s then chief executive, Paul Walsh, said was an ‘exaggerated value’ on USL.

HCC, promoted by Ajit Gulabchand, entered the wine business in 2014, but a change in strategy is because of losses and debts.

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