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Campari gains foothold in Canada buying whiskey brand

Italian icon buys Forty Creek Distillery for 120.5 million euros

12 March, 14:42
Campari gains foothold in Canada buying whiskey brand (ANSA) - Milan, March 12 - Italian beverage giant Campari said Wednesday it has gained a strong foothold in the North American market with the purchase of Forty Creek Distillery Ltd, a leading Canadian spirits company.

The cash purchase for a total of $185.6 million Canadian, or 120.5 million euros, gives Campari total ownership of the Canadian firm known as FCD and its portfolio of premium alcohol products.

"The addition of FCD will enable us to further build our critical mass in key North American markets, providing us with a strong market position in Canada and positioning us for further growth in our core U.S. market," Campari Chief Executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz said in a statement.

FCD founder John Hall established the Ontario-based company in 1992, beginning with premium whiskey and expanding to include vodka, brandy, rum and liquers.

"Introducing customers around the world to my whisky is a dream come true," said Hall.

Campari, best-known for its signature red aperitif, said it values the Canadian company at 14.5 times its forecast 2014 core earnings, or EBITDA.

The deal is to close on June 2 and will give the Italian firm FCD's entire portfolio including distilleries and a hospitality centre in Grimsby, Ontario.

Campari's Jean Jacques Dubau, managing director for North America, said the deal will help the Italian firm expand its brand portfolio "as well as position us for further growth in our core US market".

"Through this acquisition we enter the very large and appealing Canadian Whisky category, thus premiumizing our brand portfolio, driving a richer product mix and further leveraging the revival of brown spirits," he added in a statement. The announced deal came as Campari revealed that net profit fell by 4.4% in 2013 to just under 150 million euros.