Beam Suntory has acquired a 50% equity stake in South African spirits distributor ABV Brands, in a deal that will allow the US firm to “reach more consumers” in the region.
The acquisition from Cyprus-based FIX Wines & Spirits means that ABV Brands is now half-owned by Beam Suntory, with the other half remaining under the ownership of its co-founders and management team. The value of the deal has not been publicly disclosed.
Illinois-based Beam Suntory said that the acquisition represented a strategic extension of the two companies’ existing partnership, and “will unlock growth potential by allowing for further investment in sales and marketing capabilities to expand distribution and reach”. It is aiming to support ABV Brands’ bid to become one of the five largest distributors in South Africa by 2020.
The company has distributed Beam Suntory products since 2010, during which time ABV Brands has grown sales of Beam Suntory’s brands by more than 260%, driven in part by consistent double-digit growth of Jim Beam and Courvoisier.
Under the terms of the deal, ABV Brands will continue to focus on growing and distributing its entire current spirits portfolio in South Africa. ABV’s co-founders and managing directors, Ross Calow and Dan Hawkins, will also maintain their current roles.
Beam Suntory president, international Albert Baladi said: “I am delighted to announce our strategic investment in ABV Brands in South Africa, which extends our successful partnership with ABV Brands. The African spirits market has phenomenal growth potential for Beam Suntory and our global whisky and cognac portfolio is ideally suited to capture the growth of premium spirits. This partnership gives us a beachhead, and we will continue to look for opportunities to become a key player in sub-Saharan Africa by expanding our footprint, growing our brands and securing strong routes to market.”
ABV Brands managing director Ross Calow said: “ABV Brands is at the forefront of marketing and distribution of some of the world’s best-loved premium spirit brands, and this transaction will allow us to take Beam Suntory’s exceptional premium brand portfolio to new customers. This is a fantastic opportunity to combine ABV’s local expertise and agility with Beam Suntory’s global scale and portfolio of premium brands.”
And ABV Brands managing director Daniel Hawkins added: “We know the South African market inside out and see a clear opportunity here to grow Beam Suntory’s share. This deal will allow us to more aggressively target that growth by aligning our strategies and investment priorities.”
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