Orbital Wines administrator optimistic of early deal

11 January, 2008

Administrators for collapsed wine supplier Orbital Wines expect to reach a deal with a buyer by early next week.

Paul Corlett, senior manager at administrator Menzies, said there has been "a great deal of interest" in the Stormhoek and Camden Park owner .

" Ideally we will sell the business as a going concern. It may be that it's a sale of brands," he said.

Corlett added that it was "too early to say" whether all of Orbital's creditors will be paid back, but he was encouraged by the

interest from prospective buyers.

The administration also covers sister businesses California Direct and Bulk Brokers International, but not the South African production business.

The annual turnover of the combined companies was £8 million, and it has wine stocks worth £1.9 million at retail, according to Menzies.

As OLN revealed in an exclusive website story on Jan 4, all 10 former Orbital staff have lost their jobs. The business had been experiencing cashflow problems and, despite award-winning marketing for its brands, had struggled to achieve the listings and sales that matched the publicity the wines received.

Staff - including managing director Mike Paul, founder Nick Dymoke-Marr and owner Jason Korman - did not receive Christmas pay cheques and were handed redundancy notices last week. OLN understands that Orbital's bankers, Royal Bank of Scotland, had been concerned about the state of Orbital's accounts in the autumn and discussed a number of restructuring options before the administrator was called in.

Industry consultant and former Seagram and Oddbins boss John Ratcliffe has been appointed by Menzies to assist with the disposal of Orbital's assets.




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Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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