ABN AMRO Capital, the private equity arm of Dutch bank ABN AMRO, and a former Rémy Cointreau executive have joined forces to buy the French group's Dutch spirits business.

The deal, worth EUR210m (US$250.3m) will result in the formation of a new company, Lucas Bols, which will be headed by former Rémy executive board director Huub van Doorne and based in Amsterdam.

Lucas Bols will own a stable of brands with sales of 3m cases a year including the Bols liqueurs range, Vaccari Sambuca and Damrak gin.

ABN AMRO, which will take a 75% stake in Lucas Bols, said the company would concentrate on four markets, Europe - with greater attention on the Netherlands - the US, Japan and Australia.

Marc Staal, managing partner of ABN AMRO, said yesterday (9 March): "This deal fits perfectly in our investment criteria. It has an experienced management team, a strong market position and an attractive growth profile. We are looking forward to forming a partnership with Huub and his team to accelerate the growth of the business."

Huub van Doorne, who will own a 25% shareholding in Lucas Bols as CEO, was responsible for Rémy's efforts to revitalise the Bols brand in 2004. He said the deal would continue the "international rejuvenation" of the brand.

He added: "Lucas Bols is a unique proposition. No other spirits company has both the production and distributor relationships and networks but also the flexibility and creativity which is needed to drive innovations. Our company, our brands, our strategy and our campaigns are underpinned by this distinctive model which strengthens our position in this industry yet sets us apart from the rest."

Rémy put the business on the block late last year after deciding to focus on its premium portfolio including Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and Rémy Martin Cognac.