Gruppo Campari Sells Carolans and Irish Mist to Heaven Hill

The global drinks corporation Gruppo Campari announced this morning that it has agreed to sell the Carolans and Irish Mist brands to Heaven Hill Brands.

The sale is reportedly worth $165 million. The closing date of the transaction is expected to be August 1st, 2017.

The sold business consists of the Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist (Irish Mist Liqueur and Irish Mist Whiskey) trademarks, as well as inventory and production assets. 

Gruppo Campari has reshaped its lineup in recent years, selling off wine assets while acquiring spirits brands like Bulldog Gin and Grand Marnier. The company reported a 4.2% sales growth in fiscal year 2016.

‘The sale of Carolans and Irish Mist is the largest disposal ever completed by the Group,”says Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO, Gruppo Campari “With this transaction, we continue to streamline our non-strategic portfolio and further increase our focus on our priority spirit brands, particularly in our largest and core U.S. market.”

“Moreover, thanks to this disposal, we can further accelerate in the reduction of our financial indebtedness,” he adds. “Since the beginning of 2016 we have divested non-strategic assets for a total value of approximately €260 million [$302 million].”

Carolans and Irish Mist were acquired by Gruppo Campari in 2010 as part of a larger portfolio which also included Frangelico, the company’s primary target in that deal.

Carolans is the second-largest selling Irish cream whiskey liqueur worldwide, the company says. Irish Mist Liqueur is a blend of Irish whiskey, honey and aromatic spices. Both are produced in Ireland.

In the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016, Carolans and Irish Mist achieved total net sales of $39.5 million, the company reports. The brands’ sales represented approximately 2% of Gruppo Campari net sales in FY2016. The U.S. is the brands’ core market, accounting for 70% of the FY2016 net sales, the company says. 

As part of the transaction and effective from closing, Gruppo Campari and Heaven Hill Brands will enter into a multi-year exclusive distribution agreement, under which Gruppo Campari will continue to distribute the Carolans and Irish Mist brands in the international markets outside the United States.

“Carolans and Irish Mist are great historic brands that are highly complementary to our broad portfolio of leading brands,” says Max L. Shapira, president, Heaven Hill Brands. “We look forward to building on the strong success these brands have achieved both in the US and around the world.”

The transaction will occur via the sale of 100% of the share capital of TJ Carolan & Son Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Gruppo Campari.

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