Aqua Capital buys majority stake in Brazilian wine retailer Grand Cru

Aqua Capital has made an undisclosed investment in Brazilian wine retailer Grand Cru. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

São Paulo, April 6, 2015 – Aqua Capital, a private equity fund focusing on medium-sized agribusiness, food, and logistics companies in Brazil and the Southern Cone has just acquired a majority stakein Grand Cru, Brazil’s largest wine retailer.

With this transaction, Aqua Capital plans to accelerate Grand Cru’s expansion plan, targeted to reach 70 stores (own or franchised) throughout Brazil by the end of 2017—it currently has 40—and accelerate the expansion of its e-commerce operations.

Grand Cru will count on Aqua Capital’s expertise in this new stage. Aqua created the largest cold storage company in Brazil last December, by merging Comfrio and Stock Tech. “We will add our management and growth expertise to Grand Cru’s already successful business model, led by Victor Levy and Mariano Levy,” Sebastian Popik, founding partner at Aqua, explained. “I am very happy with this partnership with Aqua. It marks a new time at our company, which has become the largest wine store chain in Brazil, making sure our business is even sounder and more sustainable,” said Victor Levy, which will become the chairman of the company’s Board.

In addition to growing in Brazil, Grand Cru also considers the possibility of taking its business model to other countries in the continent in the medium term. “We believe our operational model in Brazil is unique and quite replicable and logical for other markets, which makes us also bet on growing in the Americas,” said Mariano Levy, the company’s CEO.

Another goal is to contribute to increase the per capita wine consumption in Brazil. “Many consumers do not enter wine stores out of fear that the sophistication of this industry means high, impracticable prices. Grand Cru’s model, on the contrary, welcomes and involves consumers in the market. We want to disseminate this model, and contribute to the wine culture. In order to do so, we have quality products in many different price ranges, for all audiences,” Popik explained.

“We will also continue to expand in the country, through new stores or our e-commerce channel. We will invest in all regions in Brazil and take to consumers not only the most demanded and renowned wines, but also choices in line with the climate and specifics of each region,” Levy said.

With a portfolio of over 1,500 wines, Grand Cru has already become the owner of the largest bordeaux gran cru portfolio in South America, a category that gathers the wines of the most famous premium producer region in the world.

About Grand Cru
Founded in Argentina, Grand Cru started importing and selling premium wines with its first store in São Paulo, in the Jardins district, in 2002. With a strong management team and bold expansion model, in 12 years it invested in opening own stores and franchises in different regions in Brazil to serve the on-trade, off-trade, phone sales, and e-commerce segments with one single price table in the whole national territory. It has also invested in creating a unique portfolio focusing on quality products starting at R$ 27. This is the result of the company’s partnership with the most important wineries in the world, making its wine portfolio one of the most recognized in the market. The company also has the largest chain of own stores in Brazil.

About Aqua Capital
Founded in 2009, Aqua Capital’s investment philosophy is to seek positions in companies with potential for leadership in the agribusiness, food, and logistics chain. “We believe in true and advantageous partnerships. We seek companies that are typically family-owned, which we can offer our support to through a management team that combines operational expertise and entrepreneurial approach,” said Popik. Investors of Aqua Capital also include endowments and funds of funds, and the company has nearly R$ 650 million (US$ 220 million) in assets under management.