Martell is hosting the talks with Le Maine au Bois

Martell is hosting the talks with Le Maine au Bois

Pernod Ricard has announced that it has begun discussions to buy Cognac producer Le Maine au Bois.

The company said earlier this week that the “exclusive negotiations” with the company's owner, Mr Lasalle, are being led by its Martell Cognac division. La Maine au Bois “is involved in distillation, storage and trade of eaux-de-vie” in the Cognac region, Pernod said.

No further details were given.

The news marks the latest consolidation move by the multi-national spirits companies in France. Late last year, Remy Cointreau signed an agreement to acquire family-owned Larsen Cognac for an undisclosed sum.

In a note to clients, released yesterday (7 February), analysts at Kepler Research suggested that the multi-nationals are looking to up their production presence in Cognac. “Such an acquisition could enable Martell to increase its storage capacities and better integrate the Cognac manufacturing process," the analysts said. “Indeed, until now, Cognac houses' know-how has been on the aging of eaux-de-vie and their blending into Cognac.

"Such an acquisition could increase Martell's know-how in the distillation of eaux-de-vie.”

The analysts cited figures, sourced from societe.com, showing that, in the 12 months to the end of August, Le Maine au Bois posted sales of EUR16.6m (US$22.4m) and net profits of EUR1.57m.