Campari buys Distell’s Bisquit Cognac

Italy-based Gruppo Campari said it has signed an agreement to buy cognac brand Bisquit from South Africa’s Distell Group for €52.5m ($62m).

Commenting on the acquisition, Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said, “We are very pleased to have acquired Bisquit Cognac, as it gives us the opportunity to expand our offering into the premium and growing cognac category.”

Continuing he said, “From a distribution standpoint we further strengthen our route-to-market, particularly in our recently established South African market, with potential upsides to further develop the newly acquired business internationally, particularly in US and China, the key regions for the premium cognac category. Moreover we further increase our exposure to the premium on-premise distribution channel, across both developed markets and emerging markets.”

Under the terms of the deal, Campari will acquire all shares in Bisquit which is based in France as well as existing stock, maturing inventory, trademarks and production facilities. Bisquit’s range of cognacs includes Bisquit VS Classique, Bisquit VSOP, Bisquit Prestige and Bisquit XO.

China recently cut its import tariffs on a range of food and beverage products including cognac. Campari also hopes to increase its growth potential in the United States.

Distell acquired Bisquit in 2009 from French spirits firm Pernod Ricard for €31m at a time the South African-based firm was looking to fortify its spirits portfolio with a highly respected international brand. Its growth strategy at the time was on having the required brands to enter the Chinese and other markets.

“This did not happen, and at the moment, we probably are not the best owners for the Bisquit brand. We would prefer to accelerate our growth in other liquor categories,” current CEO Richard Rushton said.

Rushton is more focused on building its core brands – especially in Africa.

“The sale will ensure the assets within our portfolio align with our strategy and generate long-term shareholder value,” Rushton said.

Distell own strong selling brands such as Savanna and Hunters Dry ciders, Klipdrift brandy, and Amarula liqueur among others.

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