OW Loeb merchant insists future is bright

The owner of respected wine merchant OW Loeb has insisted the business has a ‘bright future’ despite reports of numerous problems, including late payments and resignations of senior staff.

According to reports in the Financial Times and on Jancisrobinson.com, speculation over the financial health of the merchant began when its annual Burgundy tasting was cancelled earlier this month.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources claiming that OW Loeb owed suppliers, including a number of wine producers, considerable sums of money, while some customers were still waiting on the delivery of wine purchases.

Records at UK Companies House show that several senior staff resigned in 2017, although new staff have been recruited.

A spokesperson for OW Loeb’s owner, the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC), told Decanter.com that the wine merchant remained confident of future success. However, the spokesperson acknowledged that the reports had raised a number of broader issues, which she said the company was ‘keen to address’.

OW Loeb, a specialist in wines from Germany, Burgundy and the Rhône, was bought by multi-millionaire Marlon Abela through his MARC business in 2014, with the controlling stake said to have cost him ‘several million pounds’.

Abela, with a fortune estimated at £320m, also owns a number of high-end London restaurants, including Greenhouse, Umu, Morton’s private members club and the recently reopened Square restaurant in Mayfair.

The MARC spokesperson told Decanter.com: ‘OW Loeb has a bright future with a new management team taking the business forward.

‘The multi-million-pound investments we have made in the business underpin our passion for, and commitment to, OW Loeb, one of the great names in the UK wine business, with a proud history and heritage.

‘OW Loeb intends to honour its commitments [to its] clients and is in the process of doing so. OW Loeb remain deeply committed to their customers, suppliers and indeed to the success of the business.’

OW Loeb was founded in Germany’s Mosel Valley in 1874 by Sigmund Loeb, and relocated to London in the 1930s when his son, Otto Loeb, fled Nazi Germany.

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