Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.


Published:  23 July, 2008

Port shippers have attacked the Portuguese government's plans for recouping the massive debts accumulated by the Douro region grower's union, the Casa do Douro, labelling the rescue package unfair' and unrealistic'. The Casa - which is due to be incorporated into a new, streamlined regulatory body, the Instituto do Vinho Douro e Porto (IVDP), under reforms proposed by the Portuguese government - has run up estimated debts of 77 million in the wake of its acquisition of a 40% stake in the shipper Royal Oporto in 1990. Having underwritten the debt, the Portuguese government is now seeking to recoup it by asking shippers to sign up to a 10-year plan to buy the Casa's stocks of Port, at a value corresponding to the debt. Shippers are angry at the plans because they believe the stock is both overvalued and of dubious quality. It is about time that something was done about this situation, but we do not like the ridiculous way it is being carried out,' said Paul Symington, joint MD of the Symington Group. We have no objection to the creation of the IVDP, but the idea of forcing shippers to buy Port, and to tell them how much to buy and for how much, is just unfair. We would be quite happy to buy some stocks, but they would have to be stocks that we need and they would have to be at market prices.' Symington is also concerned that a large proportion of the stocks are very old Tawnys, and no matter how good they may be, we really don't need a lot of old Tawny. After all, how much of a market is there for 40-Year-Old Tawny?' The Fladgate Partnership's MD Adrian Bridge also called for a more realistic solution. All parties have an interest in solving the problem, including the shippers, and we need to find an answer,' Bridge said. But it can't be imposed on us to buy the stocks.'