UK: Vin & Sprit defeat keeps Beam Global’s “powder” dry - CEO
The US-based company, which is owned by Fortune Brands, had widely been thought to be the frontrunner for V&S, but lost out to Pernod Ricard for the Swedish state-owned firm, when the auction process closed two weeks ago.
Speaking exclusively to just-drinks yesterday (15 April), Beam's CEO, Tom Flocco, said: "We have a lot of dry powder, as a result of not having chased the V&S opportunity. We have capital to invest in the business for the right opportunities, and we'll do that prudently."
When asked which drinks categories the company was looking at entering going forward, Flocco said: "When you look at the categories that are doing well today - vodka, premium and super-premium rum and gin, and Irish whiskey - and look at where we have holes, that's the area that we'll look."
As part of Pernod's deal to buy V&S, which owns the Absolut vodka brand, the French company will give up its distribution deal for Russian vodka brand Stolichnaya, which is owned by SPI in the country. Pernod will continue to handle the brand's marketing and distribution outside of Russia until a new partner, or purchaser is found. Pernod had spent the best part of three years in negotiations with SPI to buy the Stolichnaya brand.
When asked about a potential move for the Russian vodka, Flocco said: "Stolichnaya is a good brand, but it is a brand that, based on what I've read, some smart people worked very hard to get out of the dual ownership structure. I don't know why they weren't able to get something done, but if it were to become available, would we look at it? Sure. We'd have to see if it makes sense, economically."
Flocco added, however, that Beam had enough to be getting on with, within its current portfolio. "We have leadership positions in Bourbon, Tequila, Canadian whisky and cordials," he said. "We also have a strong position in Cognac. We have a lot of very important categories very well covered.
"We have a lot of activity in the portfolio, a lot of opportunities and a lot of work to do. So, it's not just about acquisitions - organic is another solution to plug some of those holes."
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