Gide Loyrette Nouel (GLN) has advised the giant Chinese agribusiness group COFCO on the acquisition of Château de Viaud, a winery in the country’s famed Bourdeaux region. The transaction marks the first time that an SOE has directly entered the French wine sector and indicates that PRC companies are willing to look beyond their own rapidly-growing food & beverage (F&B) for growth.
“Chinese investments abroad into Europe – and particularly Chinese investments into France are picking up very quickly. China inbound investment into France is in its infancy – it’s starting from a low base but the growth rates are immense,” Gide Loyrette Nouel senior associate Arnaud Lunel told ALB.
According to Lunel, there have been three previous Chinese investments into the French wine industry, with this transaction the fourth. The first three investments were made by either Hong Kong investors or private Chinese groups or individuals. “This transaction is significant because this is the first time a state-owned enterprise has invested in the wine sector in France. COFCO is not your adventurous one-time investor and has a strategy for international development. This is the first of its kind of investment by a very large state-owned enterprise,” he said.
The GLN team advising COFCO was led by Guillaume Rougier-Brierre, partner, and Arnaud Lunel, from the Paris office, assisted by Chen Aihua in Beijing. COFCO was advised on financial aspects by Jean-Luc Coupet, the founder of Wine Bankers. Ernst & Young (Valerie Scappaticci) was in charge of social and accounting due diligence.
On the seller side advising the seller is French firm Lange & De Galzain.ALB
Other related stories: