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Pernod Ricard Interested in International Acquisitions

Chivas-Brothers-portfolioFollowing a spate of high profile buyouts in the spirits industry this year, Chivas Brothers has revealed it is on the look out for further acquisitions of its own.


Speaking to The Spirits Business, Laurent Lacassagne, CEO of Chivas Brothers, the whisky and gin arm of French drinks group Pernod Ricard, said that since acquiring Swedish brand Absolut vodka for ?5.63 billion in 2008, the company is back on the acquisitions trail.


“Pernod Ricard decided as a group that from 2008, it would digest the acquisition of Absolut for four years, and since this time has passed, the company has decided to come back to the acquisition scene.


“Of course Chivas Brothers will be interested in this if an interesting situation arises.”


In September last year, Pernod Ricard’s incoming CEO, Alexandre Ricard, said that the group had the ability to pursue bolt-on acquisitions and could afford to spend ?1bn without damaging its Investment Grade credit rating.


Ricard also said that since the company was “under-exposed” in the buoyant US market, the company would be “looking at America from an M&A perspective”.


Only last week, Pernod Ricard USA revealed that it had taken control of Avión Spirits, owner of premium brand Avión Tequila, by increasing its minority stake up to an 84% majority shareholding.


A number of acquisitions have been made by Pernod Ricard’s competitors this year, the most significant of which was Suntory’s US$16bn buyout of Maker’s Mark producer Beam Inc.


Meanwhile, Italian drinks group Gruppo Campari purchased Canadian whisky producer Forty Creek Distillery for ?120m in March.


Pernod Ricard’s closest rival Diageo has also been on the acquisition trail for Tequila brands, purchasing DeLeón Tequila in partnership with music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs in January 2014 and Peligroso Tequila later the same month.


Focus on developing current portfolio


While Lacassagne claims that Chivas Brothers is interested in making further acquisitions “should the opportunities arise”, it also wants to focus on developing its current stable.


“We currently have a very, very strong portfolio playing in almost every category. I do not rule out the possibility of buying a good international, premium brand if it was available, but we already have a lot to do with our current brands, as there’s still a lot of potential there.


“It’s our job to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way. We are currently in an environment that presents a lot of long-term opportunities.”


In Chivas Brothers’ strategic brands portfolio sits Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal blended whiskies, The Glenlivet single malt and Beefeater gin.


Lacassagne also recently told The Spirits Business that despite controversy surrounding the flavoured “Scotch” category, producers should “not be absent” from the trend.

Source: The Spirits Business