"It is a good way for a family business like ours to raise funds for expansion," said Louis Cottin, who, along with his brother Armand, is at the helm of the company. Cottin Freres produces a variety of wines, including Pouilly-Fuisse, Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Pommard and Vosne-Romanee.
Cottin Freres' annual production totals almost 1.2 million cases of wine, of which it exports 78 percent. About 187,000 cases are exported to the United States, where they are distributed under the Laboure-Roi label.
The initial public offering is being underwritten by Portzamparc, a French investment firm. The Cottins hope that the 514,000 company shares issued -- which were first put on the stock market on Jan. 21 at $27 per share and had dropped slightly to $25 per share at press time -- will raise $8.6 million to bankroll the winery's expansion projects.
Cottin said the company plans to expand its business in France's Languedoc region and get more international airlines to serve its wines in first and business classes (in the United States, Delta, American and United already do). In addition, it will jointly market Laboure-Roi with Dubos Freres, a Bordeaux negociant run by another Cottin brother, Phillippe.
At least two other French wine producers may join Cottin Freres on the Paris stock exchange this year: Champagne house Charles de Cazanove and Laroche, a Chablis negociant and grower, have both announced plans for public offerings.
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