DSC continues drinks buy-and-build

Duke Street's Marie Brizard has acquired French specialist wine producer Les Chais Beaucairois in a E23m transaction.

Marie Brizard, the French wine and spirits producer majority-owned by Duke Street Capital, has acquired French specialist winemaker Les Chais Beaucairois in a E23m transaction.

Duke Street, which has a 68 per cent stake in the E200m turnover business, has funded the acquisition of Les Chais Beaucairois, which operates the largest wine bottling plant in France. The company employs 250 people on a site in Beaucaire, near Nîmes and reported turnover in 2001 of E154m.

Duke Street managing director Frédéric Chauffier said the acquisition marked a ‘significant step forward’ in the firm’s strategy for Marie Brizard.  “Our aim for this business has always been for it to become a significant player in the European drinks market.”

Duke Street Capital acquired its stake in Marie Brizard in March 2000, paying approximately E54m in a deal that included the assumption of E100m debt. Since then, the company has attempted to strengthen its distribution network as well as rejuvenating its brand portfolio, which includes Glayva, Old Lady gin and Berger anisette.

Duke Street’s French portfolio includes ICV Com, a specialist advertising business which it acquired in 1999 and publishing business Publiprox, which it acquired from Hachette Filipacchi Media, also in 1999. The firm recently completed the hostile takeover of Esporta, the UK health and fitness chain.