North West's leading wine wholesaler is now a national player

Armstrong Watson’s latest corporate finance transaction sees the largest independent wine business in the North West, EWGA, almost double its size following the acquisition of Heritage Wine Company Ltd, Wickwar, Gloucestershire. The acquisition means that the Carnforth business will now have the capabilities to operate on a national scale.

EWGA Ltd is a quality wine importer and wholesaler based in Warton near Carnforth. Established in 1972 by Pamela and Gerald Moeckell, the business started a wholesale supplier of wine to hotels and restaurants in Cumbria and Lancashire. Pamela and Gerald’s son Adrian Moeckell took over the business in 1991 and since then have grown the company into the largest independent wine business in the north west of England.

Earlier in 2014, Adrian Moeckell engaged Armstrong Watson to identify and approach suitable acquisition targets. Led by Partner Richard Rankin, the team researched the sector and identified a strong list of potential opportunities.

The response from the subsequent approaches was extremely positive. A number of companies expressed an interest, all of which could have made excellent acquisitions for EWGA. However, the stand out opportunity was Heritage Wine Company Ltd. Based in Wickwar, Gloucestershire, Heritage Wine’s operations very closely replicate those of EWGA. Heritage Wine is a large regional import, wholesale and agency wine business and like EWGA, one of only five in the UK with its own bonded warehouse.

Armstrong Watson was lead adviser on the transaction negotiating the deal, raising the finance and project managing through to completion. EWGA’s legal advisers were Baines Wilson headed up by partner Andrew Hill. Commenting on the deal, Andrew Hill said: ‘It has been a pleasure working with the team at EWGA on its strategic acquisition of Heritage Wines, which will further strengthen EWGA’s position in the south of England. While the acquisition was not entirely straightforward, our track record in
transactions of this nature ensured that the acquisition was completed successfully.’

Richard Rankin commented:
‘We were delighted to have advised our long standing clients EWGA throughout the acquisition process. Taking the decision to pursue growth through acquisition is a major decision for any business and one which we are able to aid our clients in making. The success of this transaction lies in the fact that we had a detailed understanding of EWGA and were able to identify a business which had an ideal profile. This helped to ensure a smooth transition. It is always a great pleasure when we’re able to complete transactions such as this and make a difference to our clients, enabling them to achieve their business aspirations.’

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