Hillhouse Capital has announced the acquisition of Loch Lomond Group from Exponent Private Equity as it looks to grow the whisky maker’s international presence.
Loch Lomond – the owner of brands such as Glen’s Vodka, High Commissioner, Glen Scotia and Littlemill – was originally bought by Exponent in 2014.
Since then, the company’s international business has grown to represent 70% of its revenue from more than 100 markets, compared to less than 10% at the time of the acquisition.
Asia-based Hillhouse Capital said it is looking to take advantage of its “deep knowledge and strong business relationships” in Asia, a market with strong growth potential for Scotch whisky. Figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association earlier this year revealed that the export value of Scotch whisky in Asia and Oceania increased by 15% in 2018 compared to the year before.
Loch Lomond’s production spans sites across Scotland. It operates its Loch Lomond malt and grain distilleries at Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll, and has its own bottling plant in Catrine, Ayrshire.
Commenting on the sale, Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group, said: “Over the past five years we are proud to have transformed The Loch Lomond Group into a premium international spirits business with a strong focus on innovation and a portfolio of award-winning brands.
“We believe now is the right time to move forward into the next stage of our growth strategy as we look to innovate further, extend our portfolio of brands and continue to expand our international presence, particularly in Asia where Hillhouse has significant experience.
“The team at Hillhouse have impressed us immensely, and we look forward to partnering with them as we embark on the next exciting stage of our journey. We share both their vision and dedication to premium consumer brands.”
Wei Cao, partner at Hillhouse Capital, added: “Loch Lomond’s rich heritage in Scotch whisky gives the business a distinct advantage as they look to further build on their success across the world, especially in the increasingly discerning Asian spirits market. Hillhouse’s experienced operational team will work closely with Loch Lomond’s management to help it offer a premium consumer experience in international markets through channels like e-commerce and new retail.
“We believe that the strongest advantages in business are innovative and differentiated products and management teams, which is why we are so excited to help Loch Lomond realise the potential of its outstanding brands in huge new consumer markets, such as Asia.”
Hillhouse Capital has offices in Hong Kong, New York, Beijing and Singapore. Last year it invested in bone broth protein supplement manufacturer Ancient Nutrition and organic baby food maker Little Freddie.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019