South African drinks group Distell buys Scottish whisky distiller

South African drinks giant Distell has brought Scottish whisky distiller Burn Stewart Distillers Limited for R2.2 billion (£160 million).

Distell signed a binding agreement with Burn Stewart owners CL World Brands Ltd and Angostura Ltd for the East Kilbride-based business, it said in a statement.

Burn Stewart operates three distilleries and produces the Tobermory and Black Bottle brands.

"The strategic purchase of the fully integrated producer of both Blended and Single Malt Whiskies will allow Distell to capitalise on the continuing global growth in Whisky consumption and give it access to scarce blended and single malt stocks from prime whisky-producing regions in Scotland, while also enhancing its global footprint," Distell said.

The deal follows an equal-partner venture established in 2007, in which Distell and Burn Stewart co-owned and marketed three Scotch Whiskies - Bunnahabhain, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader - in sub-Saharan Africa.

Scottish Leader is the biggest brand in Burn Stewart's portfolio.

Commenting on the deal, Distell Group managing director Jan Scannell said: "Our acquisition of Burn Stewart is a very significant development for Distell from a strategic perspective but also given the rich and proud history and heritage of the brands involved. This gives us an outstanding foundation from which to build, while cherishing their individual traditions.

"We have acquired a business with a portfolio of strong brands, backed by a sound production and marketing team. Their expertise is integral to the ongoing success of Burn Stewart."

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