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TDO and La Versa merge, saving €100,000 a year


“This is a vitally important merger to cut costs and to create a single-management team that will have to meet a specific industrial plan”. With these words, the president of Terre d’Oltrepò Andrea Giorgi welcomed the merger between this major cooperative winery, the largest in Lombardy in terms of the amount of wine released onto the market, and the legendary La Versa winery. This has been a gradual process, started in 2017 when the new management team of this company from Broni decided, together with the giant Cavit from Trentino-Alto Adige, to save the brand from a death foretold. The time has now come when this move is essential. The shareholders’ special meeting was scheduled for Monday 10th February at 2:30 pm at Teatro Carbonetti in Broni, having to approve the proposed merger by incorporation of the wholly-owned subsidiary ‘Valle delle Versa S.r.l.’ with parent company Terre d’Oltrepò. “This meeting will mark a turning point”, explained president Giorgi, “because it will allow us to have both wineries under one roof. Moreover, not only will we significantly cut management costs, but also implement a joint industrial plan that can reposition the La Versa brand and boost sales for the Terre d’Oltrepò range”. The process of this merger started long ago, as the winery’s top boss confirmed: “As soon as we took over in 2017, we started to look for a major brand that could relaunch the Terre d’Oltrepò cooperative winery. We found it right here in our region: a well-known and much-loved brand that most definitely needed a relaunch. Together with Cavit, the decision was made to take over the active part of La Versa; in other words, the brand, the Traditional Method wines and, of course, the plants. Economically speaking, this was a calculated move, which we planned from an industrial point of view and wanted because the winery represents a source of pride for the Oltrepò Pavese region”. In late November 2019, as mutually agreed, Cavit sold 30% of its shares to Terre d’Oltrepo. “It all hinged upon the company’s very clear requirements. First of all, Cavit was committed to taking over and restoring a famous Trentino-Alto Adige winery. Meanwhile, Terre d’Oltrepò needed to push on with its industrial plan, which aimed to reform its commercial and industrial policy. On this basis, the parties mutually agreed to sell the shares at a nominal price, deferring the payment for 6 years”. But what will be the benefits of this merger? President Andrea Giorgi has a clear vision: “Now that Terre d’Oltrepo fully owns La Versa, it’s only natural to proceed with a merger by incorporation to save up both in terms of costs and from an organisational point of view”. Following careful analysis, there will be:

- a significant reduction in local taxes;
- a reduction in the administration system due to the management of two organisations;
- more straightforward relationships between the wineries;
- standardised work contracts.

The end result? The winery will save about €100,000 a year with this merger

“This is a substantial figure”, explained Mr. Giorgi, “which will allow us to divert resources into other sectors that can help the winery grow. Following the special meeting, the new Terre d’Oltrepò will be the ‘treasure chest’, to use a more sentimental, less economic expression, where the La Versa brands are kept (involving the HO.RE.CA – Stores world), together with the historic Casteggio brand for the large-scale retail channel and Sansaluto for the stores channel”. The future of the company is based on a very sound platform. As president Giorgi explained: “The restructuring of the company, approved at the special meeting of the merger by incorporation, together with the virtuous path to improving the quality of our wines by carefully processing the grapes, from their provision to their final transformation, will complete the process of stabilisation and gradual increase in wine production. We also have a very clear commercial vision, which has partly been put into action with immediate results, such as the agreement with Francoli Group. On the one hand, the La Versa brand, and on the other, our premium wine lines, created by world-renowned winemaker Riccardo Cotarella, will act as the battering ram which will allow our products with all lines to enter markets”.