just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
In This Issue...
So much for the desperately-needed calm after the storm – again.
There we were last week, hoping for a lull after the madness that was the London International Wine & Spirit Fair (you think you’re at pains hearing me go on about the event all the time – think of the pain my feet are STILL suffering from the three days), when the news from you lot just keeps rolling in.
The biggest story last week was V&S Group’s entry into the Chinese domestic spirits market – a curious move, considering the Swedish company is expected to go under the hammer within the next 12 months. Ketil Eriksen, the president of V&S’s Absolut Spirits division, was understandably reticent to discuss the impending sale. “That is a question for the owners (the Swedish government)," he said. "The management of V&S is focussing very much on business as usual."
I had a very interesting meeting later on in the week with a spirits industry analyst. Among the many topics we discussed was who would be in the running for V&S. While the main runners and riders - the usual suspects, naturally – have started to come out of the woodwork of late, this particular analyst said the smart money was on Fortune Brands coming up trumps. The two companies already work together in the US (with Fortune’s drinks arm, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, handling the distribution of V&S’s Absolut vodka brand in the country) and, with the two also making up one half of Maxxium, it would certainly be a relatively trouble-free transaction.
Indeed, the analyst suggested that he wouldn’t be surprised if the terms of their deal in the US gave Fortune first refusal on any potential sale of the Swedish company. Sure enough, when contacted by just-drinks, Beam was not going to divulge the minutiae of its V&S tie-up.
At a likely asking price of around EUR4.5bn (US$6.05bn), however, the runners with the deepest pockets are certainly going to be in the picture. Much as it has money to spend, however, I can’t help thinking Fortune will have more than a little competition.
Of course, we’ll keep you up to speed on all developments.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The C&C Group may have its cider brand Magners to thank for its recent success, but Brian Walsh, managing director of the Irish company’s spirits arm C&C International, believes the group’s spirits portfolio will play an important role in sustaining that growth. In this month’s just-drinks interview, he tells Olly Wehring why.
Your newsletter details
You are currently subscribed to just-drinks newsletters as: ##EMAIL##
Change your details
To update your email address, change the newsletters you subscribe to or to unsubscribe completely click here.
© just-drinks.com 2000-2007. All Rights Reserved.