Business

Campari raises $47 billion to finance Lascelles acquisition

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 21, 2012    

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CAMPARI Group, the Italian liquor company which intends to acquire Jamaican rum maker Lascelles deMercado, has raised ¤400 million ($46.9 billion) through an unrated seven-year Eurobond issue.

The offering was oversubscribed 12 times the issue size, with demand totalling more than ¤4.8 billion. It enables Campari to finance the Lascelles acquisition and to substantially lengthen its overall debt maturity profile, the company said.

"The transaction has been very successful in Italy and the international markets," said Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz. "The bond issue was very well received by investors, reflecting Gruppo Campari's excellent global brand recognition and reputation in the capital markets."

Campari announced last month its intention to purchase full ownership in Lascelles' rum and merchandising business for US$414.8 million ($37.4 billion) or US$4.32 per ordinary share.

Campari has been on a global shopping spree for more than a dozen years as it seeks to expand the 150-year-old company beyond production of its eponymous aperitif into new spirit and beverage lines.

It is only acquiring two segments of Lascelles: the flagship rum portfolio, which includes the Appleton, Wray and Nephew White Overproof and Coruba brands; and the mechandising operations, focused on the warehousing, sales, marketing, and distribution of a wide range of third-party branded products from well-known consumer goods companies.

Lascelles deMercado, formed in 1825, has the largest stock of aged Jamaican rum in the world -- the popular Appleton Jamaica Rum -- which is distributed by subsidiary company J Wray & Nephew.

In the fiscal year ended September 30, 2011, the rum and spirits portfolio sold 3.5 million, nine-litre cases.

The company more than doubled net profits to $5.8 billion for the nine months ending June 30, 2012 compared to the corresponding period last year.

Lascelles marks the third-largest acquisition in Campari's history. The Italian aperitif maker has already agreed to acquire Trinidadian company CL Financial's present 81.4 per cent stake in Lascelles and plans to offer to buy the remaining shares.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2012.

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