Lancaster firm toasts successful merger

A Lancaster-based wine import and wholesale business has become one of the largest operators in the UK following a successful acquisition.

EWGA winesEWGA Wines, which supplies quality wines from across the world to the hotel and restaurant market, has recently completed the acquisition of assets owned by Heritage Wine Company in Gloucestershire and Helvan, based in Bristol.

This merger, backed by a multi-million pound finance deal from Yorkshire Bank, has increased business revenue by 40 per cent and means EWGA now owns two of the five bonded warehouses owned by wine merchants in the UK.

EWGA Wines was established by Gerald and Pamela Moeckell in 1972 but has been owned and run by their son, Adrian, since 1991.

The business has grown significantly – 10 per cent increase year-on-year – in the last decade by diversifying into multiple areas of the wine trade and expansion through the purchase of regional wholesalers and agency businesses.

Already an established operator in the north west of England, this latest major acquisition has strengthened the company’s position in the south west of the country by adding a regional hub to serve the London market and allowing the business to operate on a national scale. The move has also increased staff numbers from 26 to 45.

The majority of this well regarded wine merchant’s stock is UK exclusive agency wines but EWGA also has its own wines produced to fulfil customer requests, provide value for money and lower its carbon footprint. A focus on providing exceptional customer service is at the heart of the operation at this people-focused company, which even features Adrian’s dog Fudge, the company mascot, on its website.

Managing director Adrian Moeckell said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to integrate this well respected regional wholesaler into our existing portfolio. There are many similarities between the two businesses which make it a natural fit and during the course of this process we have been impressed by the high standard of the operation and its personnel.

“It will, of course, take some time to integrate the businesses but we couldn’t have even attempted this process without the exceptional support and the strength of the staff we have in place. We’re fortunate to have been able to build such a strong team across the business."

The deal was arranged by Garry Birchall, business development manager at Yorkshire Bank.

Garry said: “Adrian understands the market at all levels and has demonstrated his leadership and expertise in growing this successful business. He is pragmatic but combines this with a very ambitious and determined approach. We also worked closely with Simon Mott, finance manager, and both he and his team provided great assistance in providing us with the information and confidence we needed to support the business transaction within a very short timescale."

As part of the merger arrangement and to ease the transition, former managing director Guy Adams has agreed to remain on a consultancy basis. The business has also transferred the majority of the sales team and all the head office and bond staff.

The company was advised by Richard Rankin, corporate finance partner at Armstrong Watson Chartered Accountants, throughout the transaction process and Adrian Moeckell commended Richard and the firm on its efficient management of the deal and sound advice.