Italy’s Gruppo Campari, maker of the eponymous red aperitif, is buying Jamaican rum maker Lascelles de Mercado & Co LAS.JS to boost its presence in growing American markets, as sales in recession-hit Italy lose fizz.
Campari, also owner of Glen Grant whisky, purchase an 81.4 percent stake from ailing Caribbean state-owned conglomerate CL Financial, spending around 330 million euros, making it Campari’s third-biggest acquisition behind Skyy vodka and Wild Turkey bourbon.
Campari shares were up more than five per cent on the day.
Campari has historically grown through acquisitions and is targeting underlying sales growth of 5 per cent per year over the next five years, as it expands in fast-growing emerging markets to offset weaker demand in Europe.
The group’s organic or underlying sales in Italy, which accounts for nearly a third of group sales, fell 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The group said it expected the multiple to fall to 10 times in two to three years’ time. Campari spent a total of 31.5 million euros last year to buy Russian distributor Vasco and Brazilian brand Sagatiba in a relatively quiet year for deal-making compared with a recent buying history which included Cinzano in 1999, Skyy in 2001, Glen Grant in 2005, and its biggest-ever acquisition, of Wild Turkey bourbon, in 2009 for $575 million.