UK: Suitors eye buoyant Whyte & Mackay
Brannan told just-drinks today (16 August) that there has been interest in Whyte & Mackay in recent months after a revamp of the company's brands led to rising sales.
"The fortunes of the company have improved, the brands are doing well and consequently there has been a bit of interest in the company in the last few months," he said.
"If you look at the spirits industry, there is not much left to buy and I think people view us as a more attractive proposition than a few years ago. A number of people have approached us."
However, Brannan refused to be drawn on reports that Indian spirits giant UB had registered any interest in Whyte & Mackay or its brands. "We certainly wouldn't comment on an individual company," he said.
Brannan said Whyte & Mackay's shareholders would decide whether to sell the business, should the company receive an offer. Chief executive Vivian Imerman is the company's largest shareholder, holding around a 90% stake.
Brannan added: "However, my understanding of the shareholders' intentions is they really want to build the business and that they see a really bright future for the business."
Whyte & Mackay is looking to the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia to grow sales of its portfolio,which includes Scotch whiskies Whyte & Mackay and Isle of Jura, as well as Vladivar vodka.
Brannan said that the company was "on the verge of major distribution deals" in those markets but declined to comment further.
Last month, the company posted a 28% leap in operating profit to GBP11.1m (US$21.1m) for the year to 30 September. Turnover was up 4% to GBP149m.
The company has also decided to keep its Invergordon Distillers business due, it said, to the growth of its brands and a rise in prices for private-label Scotch in the UK.
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