The last of the Islay whisky distilleries not in the hands of the multi-nationals finally falls into the hands of French drinks superpower Remy Cointreau for a reported £58 million. The owner Murray McDavid and his consortium of whisky enthusiasts purchased Bruichladdich in 2000 for a mere £6.5 million. Bruichladdich produces a range of single malt whiskies and even some exclusive gin on the renowned Scottish whisky island of Islay.
For Remy Cointreau the deal is coup over drinks rivals Diageo who dominate the Scotch whisky industry and recently announced a £1 billion expansion plan to meet growing demand for Scotch whisky, particularly in Asia. Remy Cointreau also cited growing demand for whisky in Asia for its purchase. Although a drop in the ocean for Remy at £58 million it is paying a hefty price for Bruichladdich which even at the generous end of valuations was worth a reported £50 million. Remy recently sold its champagne business and it looks like the money is burning a hole in their pockets, they reduced their debt to £188 million and paid a special dividend to their shareholders. Analysts say Remy Cointreau is sitting on over £100 million of equity after a shareholder buy back scheme and profits last year were over £200 million. Recession what recession? Although the deal will no doubt attract much attention particularly in whisky circles it makes little impact on Remy Cointreau as the sales at Bruichladdich will barely equate to 1% of Remy Cointreau’s turnover.