Earlier this year, Just Drinks analysed Campari Group’s performance trends over the last five years. In this excerpt from the report, we consider what’s currently top of inbox for CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz.
Seismic shifts – A company with such a strong on-premise presence was going to have to make some fairly nimble moves in the face of a global pandemic – and Campari has made impressive inroads into retail and e-commerce, the latter evident in the acquisition of Tannico in Italy and strong channel growth in the UK. Cementing these moves in the longer term will help create a better-balanced business.
Eastern promise? – Australia apart, Asia-Pacific remains the great untapped opportunity for the group. The HQ move to Singapore and abortive attempts to expand in Greater China hint at that changing, and 2021 could signal the beginning of that. But, it’s not all about China – the region has a number of enticing markets ripe for exploration.
Big money – Analysts estimated Campari had a EUR4bn ‘war chest’ for acquisitions even before the corporate changes including the move of its registered office to the Netherlands. In a recent client note, analysts at Bernstein forecast the fund could now reach EUR33.8bn (US$40.1bn) in eight years. But, what – and when – should the company buy?
What category? – The most eye-catching aspect of that Bernstein note was the earmarking of Cuervo as a potential acquisition opportunity, with a possible price tag of EUR7.5bn. Yet, there are any number of categories that Campari could explore further, including whisky (Scotch and/or Irish in particular), rum and brandy/Cognac. But not, if Kunze-Concewitz’s disparaging comments last year are to be believed, gin.
What profile? – It’s perhaps more relevant to ask what kind of brand or brands the group might want to buy, rather than the category, which is anyway partly dictated by the opportunities available. The creation of the ‘Rare’ super-premium division implies an even greater emphasis on brands with an existing presence in the luxury sphere – or the potential to move into it.
When? – This is the hardest question to answer. Kunze-Concewitz is not a man to be rushed into buying something just because he has the cash available. Could the crisis of the past year (and more) create exactly the opportunities that he’s looking for? Campari Group has made some high-profile purchases over the past 12 years; could the biggest deal of them all be just around the corner?