Matariki Wines in receivership

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 14:22 10/09/2012

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Hawke's Bay winery Matariki Wines is likely to be sold in an effort to recover the $10.3 million it owes to creditors.

The company was put into receivership last week.

John Fisk, of receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers, said it would probably look to sell the business either as a whole or in two parts - as separate vineyard and winery businesses - as soon as possible.

An early assessment indicated the company owed secured creditors about $10 million and unsecured creditors about $300,000, Fisk said.

It was too early to say whether the debt would be recovered.

''We will probably be advertising for expressions of interest in the near future. The vineyard is at a fairly quiet stage at the moment so we want to get it on the market to enable a buyer to get in there ready for next season.''

PwC was positive about the vineyard's prospects in particular, he said, as it was situated in the ''attractive'' Gimblett Gravels area - a well-known wine growing subregion in the province.

The business' 11 staff were currently still employed but that was subject to review, Fisk said.

Matariki had targeted the ''super-premium red wine market'' but production and distribution costs had overwhelmed it, he said.

The New Zealand wine industry has consolidated in recent years, after the recession and oversupply issues took a big toll on wineries' profits.

Matariki was established in 1981, when its directors John - a former junior All Black - and Rosemary O'Connor returned to New Zealand after studying wine in Europe.

Its wines have won several awards. Last year its 2007 "Quintology" wine won a gold at the Hawke's Bay A&P Mercedes-Benz Wine Awards.

The company is owned by O'Connor Family Holdings, according to the Companies Office.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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