January 8, 2020 / 7:55 AM / 14 days ago

Australia's McWilliams Wines goes into voluntary administration

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Audit group KPMG said on Wednesday Australia’s McWilliams Wines Group had gone into voluntary administration and that it was seeking capital or a buyer for the winemaker, which has been struggling to pay creditors amid changing drinking trends.

The decision comes in the wake of deadly bush fires that have engulfed large swathes of Australia, especially the state of New South Wales where the company’s vineyards are located.

McWilliams Wine was not immediately available for comment on whether the fires are a contributing factor.

More than 10 million hectares of land have been scorched by the relentless fires that have left many areas without power or communications and have seen thousands evacuated or homeless. The fires follow a three-year drought.

“We are seeking expressions of interest to recapitalise or acquire the Group to take this heritage brand forward in the future both locally and globally,” Gayle Dickerson, a restructuring services partner at KPMG Australia, said in a statement.

In the same statement, the over 140-year-old winemaker said operations would continue as normal.

“We have not made the decision to enter into Voluntary Administration lightly,” Jim Brayne, chairman of McWilliams Wine, said.

“A number of factors have contributed to a decline in business performance, including evolving structural market dynamics and capital constraints.” (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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