International Beverage Holdings is to move into Cognac with the acquisition of a clutch of brands from Nordic wine and spirits business Anora Group.
The deal, announced today (6 September), will see the international arm of Thai giant Thai Beverage snap up brands including Larsen and Renault.
International Beverage said the transaction, which also sees Larsen’s production site, Monopol Cognac and Ibis brandy change hands, represented an “enterprise value” of €54.1m ($58.1m).
In a statement, the company said it plans to focus on strengthening Larsen’s position on “key export markets” in Asia, including China and Hong Kong, where International Beverage already distributes the Cognac brand.
China is one of the Cognac category’s most important markets by annual sales. The category has suffered in recent quarters amid the lingering Covid-19 restrictions in the country. Inventories remain high but optimism is returning among some players.
Anora, which markets its own wine and is a distributor for other brands in the Nordic region, said the sale was part of its moves to focus on “selected hero brands with considerable growth potential”. According to the company, those brands include Koskenkorva vodka and Skagerrak gin.
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Malcolm Leask, managing director of International Beverage (UK), said: “Cognac is one of the most dynamic categories in spirits today, and we are extremely proud to have such an admired brand and skilled production team joining our business. This acquisition also marks the start of a new era for International Beverage and a strategy that will see us add high-quality brands across a range of categories and markets to take our business to the next level.”
The deal, which includes eau-de-vie maturation stock in Cognac, is expected to be finalised by the end of the month.
Anora will distribute Larsen, Renault, Monopol and Ibis brands in the Nordic and Baltic markets, including in travel retail and duty free.
“The change in ownership of Anora’s Cognac business will enable us to generate funds and concentrate efforts on our chosen hero brands, Koskenkorva, Linie and Skagerrak, which are central to our international growth ambitions,” CEO Pekka Tennilä said.
Last month, the company cut its profit guidance for 2023, citing the impact of exchange rates and lower expected earnings and Globus Wine.