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Wine importer and distributor

Remo Nardone had built Enotria, a successful London-based wine business, over more than three decades. By 2005 he was approaching retirement, but he cared very much about the future of his business and its people.

Enotria’s success had been built on good business, but also on a real love of wine. The company’s philosophy is that product quality must never be compromised in the name of profit, and this culture has attracted and retained a team of passionate, knowledgeable staff. Remo needed to know he was passing Enotria on to people who would grow and strengthen it while staying true to its ethos – and that’s what brought him to Livingbridge.

Entrusting a thriving business to the right people

When we first met Remo, he’d already rejected a series of would-be buyers. But we spent a lot of time getting to know him and his business, so when the time came to strike a deal he knew he could trust us to develop the right strategy for Enotria.

In fact, we’d built such a strong relationship with Remo that he decided to step down immediately and leave us to run the business. Livingbridge operating partner Clive Beharrell came onto the board as chairman, bringing the benefit of his broad experience of founder transitions. Clive strengthened the leadership team, appointing Alison Levett, previously managing director at Allied Domecq, as CEO. Alison and Clive improved the company’s financial rigour and brought in new systems, building strong foundations for growth.

Even in the challenging atmosphere of recession, they reinforced Enotria’s position, growing market share with three strategic acquisitions and negotiating agreements with multiple new suppliers. By the time we were ready to sell Enotria on to a new investor, the future – for the business and its staff – was looking brighter than ever.

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The story in brief
  • Remo Nardone had run wine importing business Enotria for 30 years
  • He wanted to retire knowing the business was in the right hands
  • Remo chose Livingbridge after rejecting many other buyers
  • We made the business stronger – turning recession into opportunity
  • Turnover grew from £47m in 2005 to £106m in 2011
  • Three strategic acquisitions have profitably extended the portfolio
  • Following Livingbridge’s investment Remo happily retired in 2005
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Entoria timeline

1972 Enotria founded by Remo Nardone
2005 Livingbridge invest
2006 Alison Levett appointed as CEO, Clive Beharrell appointed as Chairman
2008 Acquisitions of Wheeler Cellars and Select Vineyards
2010 Acquisition of Great Western Wine
2012 Livingbridge realises investment