Bacardi has announced that Lion Nathan will distribute its products in New Zealand from next month.

The agreement includes domestic vodka brand 42 Below, which Bacardi bought for NZ$138m (US$101.5m) three years ago. Lion Nathan already bottles 42 Below for Bacardi.

"Unifying with a sole distributor allows for maximum exposure of our brand portfolio, thereby reaching more customers and consumers," said 42 Below managing director, Paul Dibbayawan, yesterday (8 October).

"Lion Nathan's performance in this market is exceptional and its strong multi-beverage portfolio means it has excellent reach into the hospitality and retail trade supported by highly effective and efficient sales and distribution operations."

Twenty two New Zealand-based 42 Below staff will lose their jobs because of the changes, which are expected to bring greater efficiencies for Bacardi.

In 2003, Lion Nathan merged its subsidiary, Indio, into a 50/50 joint venture with Bacardi-Martini in Australia. Lion Nathan opertaes in both Australia and New Zealand.