Campari snaps up Appleton rum producer

Kasmira Jefford
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CAMPARI, the Italian drinks company, said yesterday it has agreed to buy Jamaica’s Lascelles deMercado & Co for $414.7 m (£261m), marking its first foray into the rum market.

The family-controlled group, best known for its eponymous bitter orange-flavoured aperitif, said it will buy an 81.4 per cent stake in Lascelles from Caribbean conglomerate CL Financial.

It will also make a formal tender offer for all outstanding shares.

Lascelles’s brands include Appleton Estate, Wray & Nephew and Coruba. Its rum and spirits portfolio reported a sales volume of 3.5m nine litre cases in 2011.

The acquisition is the third biggest in Campari’s history following its purchase of the Wild Turkey bourbon brand from Pernod Ricard in 2009 and the US vodka maker Skyy Spirits in 2001.

Chief executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz said the deal will give it a market-leading position in Jamaica while strengthening its presence in the US, Canada and Mexico. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Shares in Davide Campari-Milano closed up 7.96 per cent at €5.90.