Gruppo Campari has bought out the contract with Kobrand Corporation and will transfer responsibility for marketing and distribution of the Appleton brands in the United States to its subsidiary in that country, effective March 31.
Campari said Friday that it agreed to pay US$20 million to Kobrand in order to reclaim the Appleton Rum portfolio distribution rights in the US.
The arrangement predated Campari's acquisition of Appleton's former ultimate parent Lascelles deMercado & Company in December. The acquisition was done through Davide Campari-Milano SpA. It gives Campari ownership of Jamaica's top rum producer, J Wray & Nephew Limited.
Campari already owns the distribution rights for the Lascelles deMercado brand portfolio in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, and now the US which has been transferred to its wholly owned subsidiary, Campari America.
The Italian company said it would be reacquiring distribution rights in other key markets over time.
"This is a key step in the integration process of the Appleton portfolio into our distribution network. It confirms our strong commitment to achieve a swift in-sourcing of the brands with the objective to exploit the brands' full potential in the key US market," said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, chief executive officer of Campari America, in a company-issued release.
"Owned distribution will enable greater focus on the acquired business and more efficient brand-building activities. Moreover, it will allow us to further leverage our strong distribution capabilities as well as to entirely capture the brand contribution in the highly strategic US market."
Campari's US$414m acquisition of Lascelles gave it ownership of Appleton, Wray & Nephew and Coruba rum brands, among others.