Thomsons Lawyers acts for the proposed purchaser of a majority interest in Australasia’s second largest vineyard assets

9 November 2010


Thomsons Lawyers is playing a key role in the proposed privatisation of Challenger Investment Limited’s Challenger Wine Trust (CWT).

Thomsons Lawyers is acting for the intending acquirer of approximately 73% of CWT, Hong Kong based CK Life Sciences Int’l. Inc (CK Life Sciences).  Blake Dawson is acting for Challenger Investments Limited as responsible entity for the CWT and Allens Arthur Robinson for Challenger Life Company Limited (CLC).

The proposed acquisition by CKLS is to be implemented by way of a Trust Scheme of Arrangement, requiring the approval of CWT Unitholders, with CLC proposing to retain its present 27% holding in CWT. If approved by CWT Unitholders (and subject to certain other regulatory conditions), CWT will ultimately be owned in a joint venture structure by CKLS as majority equity holder with CLC having retained its equity interest.

CWT is Australasia’s second largest vineyard owner, investing in vineyards and other wine infrastructure assets.
It owns and manages 21 vineyards, including two wineries, across Australia and New Zealand. CWT leases the vineyards to wine companies.

A seamless effort by the Thomsons team across several disciplines supported this complex acquisition. The deal involved specialised competencies in the takeover provisions of the Corporations Act pertaining to: Companies and Managed Investment Schemes; the ASX Listing Rules; trust law and property issues across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

CK Life Sciences is engaged in the research and development, commercialisation, marketing and sale of health and agriculture related products. CK Life Sciences owns a number of agriculture-related businesses in Australia and, following the 2007 acquisition of Accensi Pty Ltd, is now the largest independent toll manufacturer of crop protection products in Australia. Also in 2007, CK Life Sciences acquired Lipa Pharmaceuticals – Australia’s largest contract manufacturer of complementary healthcare medicines.

CK Life Sciences is part of the Cheung Kong Group, a leading Hong Kong based multi-national conglomerate which controls interests globally including ports, telecommunications, property and hotels, retail and manufacturing, energy and infrastructure and biotechnology.