Todhunter International, Inc. has announced a name change. The company, which produces and distributes Cruzan Rum, as well as imports and markets premium branded spirits, and distills bulk rum and brandy, is to change its name to Cruzan International Inc.

The new name, which took effect from yesterday (2 May) "reflects the company's evolving strategic focus on its Cruzan Rum brand, which has continued to experience tremendous growth since its repositioning in the marketplace in the late 1990's," Cruzan said in a statement.

In conjunction with its new corporate identity, the company's common stock will commence trading on the American Stock Exchange under the new symbol, "RUM," beginning the opening of business today.

"We've reached a critical point in the company's evolution where we need to really communicate and capitalise on our key business investment - the Cruzan Rum brand," said chairman, CEO and president, Jay S. Maltby.

"This step, though a simple one, is a very important symbol of our strategic focus and commitment to continued growth across the board - from increased brand equity and profits to enhancing the company's overall value for our shareholders."

As the company's flagship brand, the Cruzan Rum portfolio experienced case sales of more than 600,000, 9-liter cases during the past twelve months, inclusive of sales originating from its Virgin Islands subsidiary.

Net sales growth for Cruzan Rum in the first quarter of this fiscal year against last year and fiscal 2004 compared to fiscal 2003 were 25.4% and 24.1% respectively.