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Campari to acquire Lascelles for US$414.75m

Published:Monday | September 3, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Gruppo Campari has reached an agreement with the majority owner of Lascelles deMercado and Company to takeover the spirits conglomerate, in what it describes as the company’s third largest acquisition in its history.



Campari has already reached an agreement to acquire 81.4 per cent of Lascelles with the majority shareholder, but will make a formal offer for 100 per cent of the company.



The deal transfers Jamaica’s oldest company J. Wray & Nephew Limited at 186 years old to European ownership. It also gives Campari ownership of the iconic Appleton rum brand and assets.



The deal prices the Lascelles group at US$414,754,200, which amounts to US$4.32 (J$388.48) per ordinary share. The stock last closed at J$275.17 on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.



Lascelles deMercado was sold by its Jamaican owners to CL Financial Group of Trinidad in 2008 at a price that was double the Campari offer. The company fell into the hands of the Trinidad and Tobago government in 2009 when the state mounted a rescue of CL Financial and its insurance group CLICO. Trinidad owns 87 per cent of Lascelles but has 92 per cent voting rights.



“The addition of the Appleton, Wray & Nephew and Coruba rum brands as well as a portfolio of local Jamaican brands will help us build our critical mass further in key North American markets, provide a leading market position in Jamaica, a major destination in the Caribbean, whilst laying the foundations for future international growth across all major usage occasions of the growing and premiumising rum category,” said Campari chief executive officer Bob Kunze-Concewitz in a statement.



“When completed, this acquisition will give a further boost to the internationalisation of Gruppo Campari, further expanding our business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening our largest and most profitable business, the spirits segment,” he said.



Last year, the rum and spirits portfolio achieved total sales volume of 3.5 million nine-litre cases.



Lascelles had previously identified a buyer for Globe Insurance and is finalising negotiations. But it also operates in the merchandising and transport sectors.



Campari said that when the deal closes, the acquired business would “Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba, the related upstream supply chain, as well as its successful local consumer products distribution business.”



Campari expects to close the acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2012.





business@gleanerjm.com