February 4, 2008
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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The pending sale of Vin & Sprit by the Swedish government looks set to be the next big story in the global drinks industry in 2008. With worries about stock markets and the availability of credit around the world, the Swedish Government already appears concerned that the Absolut owner may not reap as much as it is perceived to be worth.
These concerns may, however, be balanced out with the already keen interest this transaction has generated, not just from private equity groups, but also from within the industry too. With the likes of Bacardi, Diageo, Fortune Brands and Pernod Ricard in the running, credit crunch or no credit crunch, we still feel here that the bidding is going to be fairly hot.
I’ve been busy priming all the contenders for our future pestering on this matter, and I’m assured they’re all looking forward to our calls (that’s what they say to my face, at least).
The smart money is certainly on Fortune, who has around a US$1bn head-start on the others thanks to the cost savings it can generate from its tie-ups with V&S in the US (the companies work together to distribute V&S’s products in the country) and in Maxxium.
To some, this is almost a dead cert. Indeed, one insider has told me that no-one else is likely to get too much of a look-in. I believe that there is no provision within V&S’s agreement with Fortune for what would happen if one of the companies is taken over. What this, in effect, means is that whoever buys V&S would inherit Fortune as a ‘sitting tenant’ in the US. With the terms of the agreement being confidential, though, Fortune is, naturally enough, not too keen to discuss the matter in public.
And who’d blame them?
On the site last week, meanwhile, we saw V&S produce a record year for Absolut in the US. Elsewhere, we took (what Carlsberg and Heineken hope is) a final look at the battle to buy Scottish & Newcastle. We also considered the soft drinks industry’s attempts to handle charges that relate their products to obesity.
Oh, and we also celebrated my somewhat puritanical and holier-than thou success at staying dry for a month. My future relationship with the drink lies in your hands, people.
Use your responsibility wisely.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Join key industry leaders at the 3rd World Whiskies Conference - the global whisky business summit. Enjoy unrivalled whisky expertise and grow your business at the Radisson SAS, Glasgow, 15-16 April 2008.
Rising obesity statistics make alarming reading for governments and for the drinks industry. While politicians look to improve the effectiveness of their policies in this area, writes Annette Farr, with all eyes on the raft of initiatives unveiled in the UK last week, the drinks industry is demonstrating its commitment to tackling the problems through product innovation.
The beginning of a new year once again sees the publication of the Euromonitor International industry review from just-drinks. The briefing takes stock of the current state of play in the spirits, beer, wine and soft drinks sectors, and looks ahead to what promises to be an exciting and busy year across all four categories. The report discusses the key trends for each sector, companies to watch, and the brands set to lead the market in 2008.
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