Italy’s Gruppo Campari Buys Jamaican Rum Maker For $415 Million

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(Photo: Nils Thingvall)
(Photo: Nils Thingvall)

BUSINESS

  • Campari aims to expand in North America with Lascelles de Mercado & Co acquisition
  • Deal includes brands Coruba, Wray & Nephew, Appleton Special/White and Appleton Estate
  • Rum third most popular spirit behind vodka and scotch

Italian aperitif manufacturer Gruppo Campari will purchase Jamaican rum maker Lascelles de Mercado & Co for $415 million in an effort to expand in the North American market.

The Milan-based company will purchase an 81.4% majority stake from Caribbean conglomerate CL Financial Ltd, which is run by the government of Trinidad and Tobago who took over management of the company after a 2009 bailout.

As sales in recession-hit Europe have stagnated, Campari has turned its attention to Canada, Mexico and the US, which it hopes will be a platform for international growth. 

Campari Chief Executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz told the press: “When completed, this acquisition will give a future boost to the internationalization of Gruppo Campari, further expanding our business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening our largest and most profitable business – the spirits market.”

Included in the purchase are the brands Coruba, Wray & Nephew, Appleton Special/White and Appleton Estate as well as property and sugar-cane fields. The sale is expected to be complete before the fourth quarter.

Historically, Campari grows through acquisitions. It has already purchased Glen Grant whisky, Wild Turkey bourbon, Skyy Vodka, Cinzano, Sagatiba and distributor Vasco. Lascelles is its third-largest acquisition behind Wild Turkey and Skyy Spirits.

Growing Rum Market

The rum market has grown by volume every year for the past 10 years, and rum is the third most popular spirit behind vodka and scotch.

Market growth is lead by consumer demand for dark, spiced and high-priced rums. Consumers are also buying more aged rum.

The largest rum market in the world is the US, with 35% of premium rum volumes.

Campari stock is doing well compared to the rest of the European food and beverage industry, which is seeing weak demand and stagnant growth. The company’s goal is to see sales growth of 5% every year over the next five years. 

Key Statistics - Global Beverage Market (source: MarketLine)

  • In 2010, the beverage industry had revenue totaling $1.8 trillion globally. For the period 2007-2016, the industry will register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3%.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, industry consumption volumes grew at a CAGR of 2.4%. In 2011, consumption volume hit 717 billion liters.
  • For the period 2011-2016, it is predicted that the industry’s performance will accelerate to a CAGR of 3.4%. By the end of 2016, the industry should be worth $2 trillion.

By Melina Druga for
Melina Druga is an American writer and editor. She is the author of Enterprising Women: Practical Advice for First Time Entrepreneurs.

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