Lines company to divest wine company in bid for low carbon future

by | Aug 12, 2022 | News

Marlborough Lines is seeking a strategic partner in Yealands Wine Group to help fund and accelerate growth in sustainable energy initiatives for the region.

Yealands Wines Group, based at Seaview in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, is one of New Zealand’s largest independently owned and vertically integrated wine businesses, with over 1,800 hectares of owned land, scale processing assets, strong sustainability credentials and significant export sales.

Since opened their doors on 08.08.08, the vision was to become one of the world’s most sustainable wineries. Yealands have won many awards over the years. Late latest accolade came in June from Wine Enthusiasts magazine, which gave both Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2021 and Yealands Sauvignon Blanc Rosé 2021 90+ scores. The announcement was made in their online Advanced Buying Guide, which will also feature in the Aug/Sept issue.

Marlborough Lines, owned by the trustees of the Marlborough Electric Power Trust, announced this week that it is seeking a strategic partner for Yealands, its wholly-owned subsidiary, to enable it to further pursue opportunities in renewable energy and electrification as part of its ‘Energise Marlborough’ strategy. ML has engaged the New Zealand investment bank Cameron Partners to help them in this quest.

For the award-winning Yealands, the move is an opportunity for accelerating growth in offshore markets and to maximise otherwise untapped export potential. “Yealands has a valuable asset base, which has grown by $100 million since 2015 when we first purchased it. It has excellent growth prospects, with strong management and governance. We would expect any new partner to enhance the business and the interests of the region, maintaining stability and minimising any disruption,” said Phil Robinson, Chair of MLL.

“Due to the significance of the Yealands business within Marlborough, we will be carefully considering diverse stakeholder and community interests. We recognise the importance of supporting the team at Seaview and our grape-grower community to continue to develop the business to maximise value for MLL and the Marlborough region,” he says.

“We are dedicated to securing the right partner on the right terms to deliver value for our stakeholders,” says Robinson. if a suitable partner was not found, MLL would continue to actively support Yealands and its team to deliver its robust strategic objectives.

Marlborough Lines say the divestment of part of Yealands would enable to lead the region towards a zero carbon future, promote sustainable regional growth and provide sustainable dividends to local electricity consumers today and in the future. “The energy landscape is rapidly changing. Marlborough Lines has an important role in supporting our region’s transition to a zero-carbon economy. We’re already seeing increasing demands from electric vehicles, ferries, and local industry and significant investment is needed to build the energy capacity and resilience needed to power a sustainable future for the region,” said Tim Cosgrove, Chief Executive at MLL.

MLL has been actively exploring opportunities for renewable energy generation and electrification through its new subsidiary, Energy Marlborough. Energy Marlborough has a project underway to build a solar power plant on under-utilised land at its local depot, with other projects in the pipeline.

“We take pride in our vision of energising Marlborough’s future. We view this as an opportunity to retain and enhance an investment in Yealands while further investing in our core business,” said Cosgrove.

“We plan to play an important role in supporting the transition to a zero-carbon economy. By divesting part of Yealands we can invest more to help build the energy capacity and resilience needed to power a sustainable future for the region,” he added.

Marlborough Lines is owned by the trustees of the Marlborough Electric Power Trust (MEPT) who hold the shares in the company on behalf of MEPT’s beneficiaries, the electricity consumers of Marlborough.

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