Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Wray & Nephew racks up nearly $6b in half-year sales

Published:Wednesday | August 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
J. Wray & Nephew Chairman Clement Lawrence.

Spirits company J. Wray & Nephew Limited (JWN) grew rum sales to nearly $6 billion globally over the first six months of the year.

The Jamaica rum portfolio, which includes Appleton, J. Wray and Wray & Nephew Overproof rums, made €41.4 million ($5.8 billion) in global sales over six months or 2.9 per cent more than the €40.2 million earned a year earlier. That's according to results released this month by Italian parent company Campari Group.

The Jamaica rum portfolio sales translated to 4.9 per cent of the group's €844.7 million net sales for the first half of the year.

"Jamaica posted organic sales growth of 10.7 per cent in the first half, driven by 14 per cent growth in global priority brands, thanks to the good performance of the Jamaican rums portfolio (especially Wray & Nephew Overproof), in addition to Campari that has recorded a double-digit growth," Campari stated.

During the review period, Jamaica grew exports to the United States and United Kingdom and the company launched Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend, a 25-year-old aged rum blend that offers a balanced taste with subtle oak notes, in honour of master blender Joy Spence.

 

APPLETON ESTATE TOUR

 

JWN also invested millions of dollars in upgrading its Appleton Estate Tour.

"In Jamaica, €2.3 million was invested to upgrade the visitor centre," stated Campari. The group itself spent €24.7 million overall on investments throughout the globe in the first half of the year.

Requests to JWN for comment on the financial results were unanswered up to press time. The spirits company disclosed late last year that it would upgrade its Appleton Estate Visitor's Centre as part of a US$7.2-million upgrade to its tour product. The popular Appleton Rum Tour takes visitors on the historical tour of Appleton Estate, a sugar plantation and rum distillery in St Elizabeth owned by JWN.

Part of the overall upgrade will include expansion by another 25,000 square feet. The welcome centre will feature a theatre, luxury bar, a restaurant and other amenities which visitors can use before the tour of the estate's distillery begins. Also, there are plans to resuscitate the rail service, which reportedly stopped years ago.

Appleton reportedly wants to more than double the 50,000 visitors who currently take the Appleton Rum Tour.

The Campari group made €108.5 million in net profit before tax or 5.9 per cent more year-on-year. During the half-year, the company acquired Bulldog London Dry Gin for US$55 million, and sold Lapostolle in Chile for €30 million.

Subsequent to the close of the second quarter, Campari sold the French winery Chateau de Sancerre to Maison Ackerman, the wine division of Terrena, for €20.2 million. It also sold the Carolans and Irish Mist brands to American company Heaven Hill Brands for US$165 million.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com