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Published:  30 November, 1999

Ruffino SPA, one of Italy's largest wineries, has sold 40% of its shares to the Bonomi family, owners of the holding company Invest Industrial. The shares were sold for E70 million in the form of a closed investment trust. The estates remain under Ruffino management, but the Bonomis join the board of directors. The E70 million was paid in cash and this gives us the extra freedom and the fuel to carry on with our investment plans, which we started back in 2000 and which, to date, have totalled E50 million,' said Adolfo Folonari, managing director of Ruffino SPA. The friendship between the Folonari and Bonomi families goes back a long way, so it is really a family decision and extension,' said Lena Petersen, Ruffino's corporate communications manager. Since 2000, when the Folonari split-up took place, Ruffino has invested E50 million in replanting two-thirds of its vineyards and building three new cellars. Ruffino has nine Tuscan estates and one Friuli estate - Borgo Conventi - giving it a total land-holding of 1,600 hectares. Tenimenti Ruffino's philosophy is not to become a "colossal",' said Petersen, but to purchase small, top-quality estates in Italy, such as they have in Montepulciano, Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Friuli, for the production of premium wines such as Santedame and Modus. Right now, they are looking to invest in other estates, in Italy [Puglia] and abroad.' Invest Industrial is a holding company with many sub-companies and a total share value of E175 million. Investors in the Ruffino deal include the government of Singapore and Benetton.