Blog: Olly WehringWhyte & Mackay - how much is enough?

Olly Wehring | 22 August 2006

It’s a maxim in business that everything has a price - and that truism could soon be tested at UK distiller Whyte & Mackay.

The company has started attracting interest from potential suitors after enjoying the first positive results of a turnaround in strategy over the last three years.

Whyte & Mackay has embarked on a series of cost-cutting measures and invested heavily in its brand portfolio, including its namesake Scotch whisky brand and Vladivar vodka. The moves underpin the company’s desire for a change in direction - away from low margin, private-label Scotch towards more premium brands.

Growing sales of the company’s branded whiskies are a sign that the hard work is beginning to pay off. However, that success has made Whyte & Mackay an attractive asset - and reportedly at the front of the queue is Indian billionaire Dr Vijay Mallya, the head of spirits giant UB Group.

Whyte & Mackay decided to keep its Invergordon Distillers business after witnessing a revival in the price of own-label whisky and has admitted that it has received “a number of approaches” for parts of the business.

Should those approaches turn into concrete offers, how long will the company’s largest shareholder, South African business tycoon Vivian Imerman, rebuff any advances? Whyte & Mackay’s focus on premium brands is a sensible move but it may only be a short-term fix. Healthy returns on upmarket whiskies like Isle of Jura are constrained by a distilling process that can take a decade.

Imerman is known to want to build the Whyte & Mackay business but his commitment to the company would be tested if Dr Mallya - known as India’s answer to Richard Branson - gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.


BLOG

Non-alcoholic beer fails the Bernstein challenge

Crazy days in the Bernstein offices. Taking time out from being one of the world’s top beverage analysts, the Bernstein team, lead by its London-based veteran Trevor Stirling, held its very own taste ...

BLOG

AG Barr launches Funkin innovation search

AG Barr has lined up a Funkin campaign in the UK to find an 'innovation champion'. ...

BLOG

Are you a beer geek? Take the Brewdog quiz and find out

Brewdog, the Scottish craft brewer, likes to claim its drinkers are some of the most knowledgeable around....

BLOG

The (temporary) return of Paul Walsh to the drinks debate

Paul Walsh just can't stay away from the drinks industry....

just-drinks homepage



Forgot your password?