Chinese firm takes stake in Bordeaux vineyard

BORDEAUX: A Chinese firm has taken a majority stake in a Bordeaux vineyard, the latest move by the emerging Asian giant into the world of French wine, a company who advised on the deal said.
HongKong A and A International, a holding company, paid an undisclosed sum for the stake in Chateau Richelieu, at a property once owned by infamous French statesman Cardinal de Richelieu.

Chateau Richelieu, in the southwestern French region famed for its high-class wines, is a 17-hectare property surrounded by 14 hectares of vines.

It was previously owned by Dutchman Arjen Pen and 17 other shareholders of different nationalities.

MK Finance, a company which advised HongKong A and A in its investment, said the Chinese group aimed to strengthen the vineyard's presence in the burgeoning Asian market.

In 2008, exports of Bordeaux wine to China jumped 60%, with a turnover of €53 million (US$78 million), according to Bordeaux's wine producers' association.

Chateau Richelieu exports 90% of its wine abroad, to countries including England, Germany, Japan and the United States.

The Chinese company has previously specialised in the areas of golf, property and luxury clothing.

MK Finance said in a statement: "In order to respond to strong Chinese demand for French wine, and particularly of Bordeaux wine, Chateau Richelieu decided to forge an Asian partnership with the aim of distributing top of the range produce."

The development marks the second foothold gained by a Chinese firm in the French wine industry, after the purchase in January 2008 by property group Longhai International Trading of Chateau Latour-Laguens, also for an undisclosed sum.

Source: AFP

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