Fiduciam, has just funded its most interesting deal to date – a French vineyard using the wine as security. The three-year loan was structured as a multi-drawdown facility of €3 million with an initial drawdown of €750k.
Fiduciam took a charge over the vineyard, but in addition it also took security over 77,422 bottles of wine and 2631 hectolitres of wine in barrels.
The loan was taken out by a Luxembourg company, principally owned by a high net worth individual from the United States who had purchased the vineyard several years ago and now needed to refinance some existing debt of the vineyard.
Due to the nature of the borrower’s company and the multi-national shareholders involved, the loan involved five jurisdictions: Fiduciam based in the UK, the vineyard in France, the borrower/guarantor in the US, the borrower’s company in Luxembourg and a pledgor from Australia.
The vineyard produces a high-quality biodynamic wine, with solid distribution, also distributed through Waitrose in the UK. A biodynamic wine means that the grapes are farmed biodynamically, and that the winemaker does not make the wine with any common manipulations such as yeast additions or acidity adjustments.
There has been a growing demand for this type of wine and French vineyard assets are in high demand with Chinese buyers snapping up over 150 vineyards to date, as Chinese demand for French luxury remains strong. Historically, international high net worth individuals have liked to invest in French vineyards, as is the case for Fiduciam’s borrower.
In order to carry out the property valuation, a specialist RICS surveyor actually had to spend time trying the wine to ensure it was of the quality expected.
Fiduciam has announced it is also willing to lend against in-bond wine cellars in the UK.
Johan Groothaert, pictured, CEO of Fiduciam, explains:
“This deal once again demonstrates the cross-border capabilities of Fiduciam and the willingness to lend against trading businesses. This puts us in a fairly unique position, particularly that our loan IT platform can deal with loans of such complexity. This ability allows us to offer interest rates abroad, similar to those we would be offering in the UK.”
Brokers placing deals with Fiduciam should look forward to being able to sample the wine as Fiduciam is taking a shipment of it with the intention to provide brokers with a thank you gesture on the closing of each loan.