Vijay Mallya wants to shake up the world spirits hierarchy

Vijay Mallya wants to shake up the world spirits hierarchy

India's United Spirits is targeting overseas acquisitions as it looks to become the world's leading spirits maker by volume.

The Vijay Mallya-owned spirits giant is looking to build its footprint in emerging markets after having acquired Scotch whisky group Whyte & Mackay in 2007.

"We are looking at expanding our presence in international markets, especially in the Far East and Africa, both through acquisitions and the franchisee route," a spokesperson for United Spirits told just-drinks today (26 April).

The India-based firm last week reported net profits for the 12 months to the end of March at INR4.01bn (US$89.8m), compared to INR2.97bn for the prior year. Net sales were also up, albeit less impressively, to INR49.6bn versus INR41.4bn.

Full-year volumes were up by 13.5% to 100.2m cases, with the unit claiming to have overtaken Pernod Ricard to become “the second largest distilled spirits marketer (globally) by volume”, behind Diageo.

“The company has its sights set on attaining the No.1 position during fiscal 2011,” said United Spirits, which last year held talks with Diageo on a tie-up in India.

The firm, which is part of Mallya's UB Group, has spent the last year reducing debt related to a US$625m loan taken out to fund the $1.18bn deal for Whyte & Mackay. 

United Spirits president Vikay Rekhi could not be immediately contacted by just-drinks for further comment on the firm's expansion plans.