Distillers for sale

The Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya is feeling the pressure from banks to pay back some of the money he borrowed to buy companies such as Whyte & Mackay. After trying to entice Diageo buy a minority stake for several months he’s now given up. According to The Times he’s considering putting the entire company up for sale.

Other options would be to sell off other assest in the company portfolio, which includes an airline, beers, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, media and several other interests. But getting a lot of money for anything might prove a problem these days.

Of the other companies that once were in the running for the company, none are lining up today. The only one with the financial muscle to do anything would be Wm Grant & Sons, but thay are not interested after building and opening their new Ailsa Bay Distillery. Accoring to industry sources the only company that might have a hankering for W&M is the french drinks company La Martiniquaise, who recently bought Glen Moray Distillery. The company has put forth plans on constructing a distillery in Bathgate outside Edinburgh, but these plans would probably be scrapped if they decided to buy Whyte & Mackay.

As for payment Mr Mallya would be lucky if he got a third of what he payed for it less than 2 years ago (he payed £595m).

In addition the price could be pushed further down if another distiller also came on the marked. The Trinidad-based conglomerate CL Financial are in difficulties as well and was recued by the Trinidadian government in January, this might force them to off-load Burn Stewart Distillers. Burn Stewart it self is goung quite well, and is to spend £1m on expanding their facilities with a new bottling line at Kilbride and 2 pairs of new stills at Deanston Distillery.

With 2 companies, both big in the bulk whisky marked, it’s a matter of “how low can you go”.

Whyte & Mackay whiskies: Isle of Jura, Fettercairn, Dalmore and Whyte & Mackay.

Burn Stewart whiskies: Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory, Ledaig, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader.

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