Chapel Down Group is England’s leading winemaker, owning, leasing or sourcing from 780 acres of vineyards in south-east England. The company’s growing wine business flourished during the pandemic; however, Curious Drinks, Chapel Down’s craft beer and cider business, was severely impacted by the enforced closures of pubs and hospitality premises, where it derived over 80 per cent of its revenue from. Chapel Down Group wanted to divest the beer and cider business and focus all of its attention on the English wine sector. The company and its lenders, HSBC, approached FRP to discuss strategic options with our independent business review (IBR) team, and with a potential view to selling Curious Drinks.
An IBR was carried out by the FRP Business Review team, which recommended that a sale process of Curious Drinks was run to secure the future of the business and protect the lender’s interest. FRP Corporate Finance was then appointed to advise Curious Drinks and its majority shareholder, Chapel Down Group, on the sale of the business. The team were able to run a swift and efficient marketing process targeting key players in the brewery industry and selected financial investors. The team’s approach created high levels of engagement from both financial investors and trade parties. This allowed the business to rapidly identify the right party with which to complete the transaction and preserve cash for creditors.
The future of the business was secured via a pre-pack administration sale to Risk Capital Partners, who will look to continue to develop and grow the brand. The sale allowed Chapel Down to focus on its core winemaking business. Following the sale of the business and assets, FRP was then appointed as administrators of Curious Drinks Limited, and the Restructuring Advisory team conducted an orderly wind down of the remaining company assets and liabilities.
This allowed the business to rapidly identify the right party with which to complete the transaction and preserve cash for creditors.Matthew Flower Corporate Finance