The CEO of Beam Global Spirits & Wine has said the unit is focussing on being "a long-term player"

The CEO of Beam Global Spirits & Wine has said the unit is focussing on being "a long-term player"

The head of Beam Global Spirits & Wine has warned potential suitors that the unit is not gearing itself for an auction process later this year.

The spirits company, which is owned by Fortune Brands, is set to become the sole focus for Fortune in the second half of this year when it spins off its golf and home divisions. The announcement, made late last year, has prompted speculation that Beam Global might be a target for drinks companies such as Bacardi, Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

Speaking exclusively to just-drinks late last month, however, Beam Global's CEO, Matt Shattock, dismissed the likelihood of an auction process being more a case of when, and not if.

“We're very clear, and there is absolutely no change,” Shattock said. “Our board of directors believe it is in the best interests of our shareholders to have Beam become a standalone spirits company. That's very much what we're on course to do. 

“We are committed and we believe we have a bright and long future as a standalone pure-play spirits company,” he continued. “We think we've got the right strategy, the right assets and the right people to be a long-term player.”

Shattock pointed to Beam Global's acquisition of the ready-to-serve cocktail brand, Skinnygirl, in March as an indication of the unit's commitment “to investment to growth”.

“We're going to play a very long game here,” he added.

Also in the interview, which runs on just-drinks this week, Shattock said that the company will continue with its increased investment in marketing in 2011. “Brand investment will continue to rise,” Shattock said. “That's what we were committed to last year and we will do that again this year. We're very committed to making sure we have a very competitive and healthy level of investment in our brands.”

In 2010, Beam Global increased its marketing investment by a “double-digit rate”, Shattock noted.