9 Jan 2020

Australia's McWilliams Wines goes into voluntary administration

5:27 pm on 9 January 2020

One of Australia's largest wine companies, which has been run by the same family for six generations, has gone into voluntary administration.

Woman is standing near shelf with bottle of wine and choosing one. Close up of female hand, rising beverage

Photo: 123rf

McWilliams Wines says it is seeking capital or a buyer after struggling to pay creditors.

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.

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

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

In a statement by auditor KPMG, it says the winemaker will continue to make wine as normal while exploring options.

"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.

"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."