Scales Corporation still interested in buying Villa Maria

The wine giant's parent company was placed into receivership this week.
The wine giant's parent company was placed into receivership this week. Photo credit: File / Getty Images

By Nicholas Pointon of RNZ

Apple exporter Scales Corporation has confirmed it is still interested in buying Villa Maria, after the wine giant's parent company was placed into receivership.

Rabobank and ANZ have appointed Calibre Partners as the receivers of the holding company, FFWL, but the value of what is owed to creditors is not yet known, and will be made public when the receivers' report is published in a couple of months' time.

One of its receivers, Brendon Gibson, stressed the receivership did not affect Villa Maria's domestic or international business which continues to trade profitably.

He said it was no secret that Villa Maria had been looking for a new investor for some time now, and the receivership was seen as a way to bring the sales process to a conclusion.

"There have been a number of interested parties which we're contacting or re-establishing contact with today and we will work with those parties to find a new owner."

Gibson said a number of parties had already been granted access to Villa Maria's books to carry out due diligence before making a formal offer.

Scales Corporation had previously shown an interest in purchasing the wine business, whose brands include Esk Valley, Leftfield, Vidal and Thornbury.

Chief executive Andy Borland told RNZ it was still in discussions with the board of Villa Maria and its advisors about a possible acquisition.

"There is no certainty that these conversations will result in a transaction," he said.

"Once we have certainty we will update the market with details."

Parent company FFWL is wholly owned by Sir George Fistonich, widely regarded as one of the pioneers of New Zealand's wine industry.