Distell snaps up Burn Stewart Distillers for £160m

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South African giant Distell Group has bought Bunnahabhain producer Burn Stewart Distillers for £160 million from CL World Brands and Angostura.


The takeover includes Burn Stewart's three single malt whisky distilleries, a blending and maturation facility, bottling hall and drink and finished goods storage site as well as its marketing and distribution facilities. All Scotch whisky stocks in maturation were included in the transaction.


Based in East Kilbride, near Glasgow, Burn Stewart also operates a sales and marketing branch in Taiwan, the world's fourth biggest Scotch whisky market by volume.


The deal follows a joint venture established in 2007 between Distell and Burn Stewart which saw the companies co-own and market Bunnahabhain, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader, in sub-Saharan Africa. Distell has also distributed Burn Stewart's portfolio in Africa for the past 14 years.


The biggest brand in Burtn Stewart's portfolio is Scottish Leader, the leading blended Scotch whisky in Taiwan. It also produces blended Black Bottle and single malts Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory and Ledaig and its portfolio is sold in over 60 countries.


"Our acquisition of Burn Stewart is a very significant development for Distell from a strategic perspective but also given the rich and proud history and heritage of the brands involved. This gives us an outstanding foundation from which to build, while cherishing their individual traditions," Distell Group managing Jan Scannell said.


Distell would use the popularity of Scottish Leader in Taiwan as a springboard for the company's other speciality drinks, he added.


Burn Stewart managing director Fraser Thornton, said: "We have developed solid synergies with a strong cultural fit between our two entities and are enthused by Distell's plans to recapitalise and advance the business."


The purchase is the second recent global spirits acquisition for Distell, which bought cognac brand Bisquit from Pernod Ricard in 2009.

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