Australian wine producer Palandri is hoping to bag a bumper crop of investors next month when it floats on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), looking to raise about £3m for expansion and possibly acquisitions.

The firm is based in the fertile Margaret River region of western Australia, where the climate tends to be cooler than in south eastern Australia, where much of the country's wines are produced.

Founded in 1998 it produced 145,000 cases of wine last year giving it just under 7% of the market. Roughly half of its output is exported with Palandri wines finding their way into Somerfield and Co-op stores on this side of the world.

The company is said to be close to finalising a deal with a new UK distributor that should see its products shipped into new store chains.

The Australian wine market is consolidating and Palandri is hoping the AIM listing, expected to value the company at about £22m, will give it the firepower to make deals.

Chief executive Darrel Jarvis, who owns about a third of the company, said: "Palandri has always been profitable on an annual basis and we are moving out of the start-up phase and into the growth phase. A flotation will increase the profile of the brand and help us expand the business."

The company made profits of £1.4m in 2003 on sales of £15.8m. It expects to list by June 28.

Palandri is the latest in a line of Australian companies that have decided to list on AIM because the market presents a relatively inexpensive way to gain access to fresh capital compared with the Australian exchange. It will be the first wine producer to list on the secondary market.



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