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Italian firm Campari acquires Lascelles

Tuesday, September 04, 2012    

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ITALIAN aperitif maker Campari Group has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Jamaican rum manufacturer Lascelles deMercado, makers of Appleton and Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum.

Campari will acquire 81.4 per cent of Lascelles from troubled CL Financial and plans to offer to buy the remaining shares. It values all of Lascelles' shares at US$414.8 million ($36.8 billion) or price per ordinary share of US$4.32 ($383.62). The stock rose 18 per cent on the Jamaica Stock Exchange yesterday to close at $323.55 as news of the deal broke.

When completed, the acquisition will give a boost to the internationalisation of Gruppo Campari, further expanding its business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening its flagship spirits segment, said Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz.

“With Lascelles deMercado, the award-winning distiller of world-class premium dark, overproof, and gold Jamaican rums, we are once again leveraging our acquisition framework in a very disciplined and consistent manner for future growth,” stated Kunze-Concewitz yesterday.

“The addition of the Appleton, Wray & Nephew and Coruba rum brands, as well as a portfolio of local Jamaican brands will help us build our critical mass further in key North American markets; provide a leading market position in Jamaica, a major destination in the Caribbean, whilst laying the foundations for future international growth across all major usage occasions of the growing and premiumising rum category,” he added.

Trinadian firm CL Financial less than four years ago bought controlling interest in the local rum giant for approximately US$750 million. The company received a government bailout starting in 2009.

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 brew of herbs into new spirit and beverage lines. Lascelles marks its thirdlargest acquisition.

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. 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.

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