Campari sells Carolans and Irish Mist to Heaven Hill

Gruppo Campari has announced the sale of Carolans and Irish Mist to Heaven Hill Brands, via the sale of 100% of the share capital of TJ Carolan & Son Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary.

The enterprise value is US$165.0m (€141.7m at the current exchange rate) on cash free/debt free basis. The sold business comprises the Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist (Irish Mist Liqueur and Irish Mist Whiskey) trademarks, as well as inventory and production assets.

In the fiscal year ended December 31 2016, Carolans and Irish Mist achieved total net sales of €34m. The brands’ sales represented approximately 2% of Gruppo Campari net sales in FY2016. The US is the brands’ core market, accounting for 70% of the FY2016 net sales and the closing date of the transaction is expected to be August 1, 2017.

As part of the transaction, Gruppo Campari and Heaven Hill Brands will enter into a multi-year exclusive distribution agreement, under which Gruppo Campari will continue to distribute the Carolans and Irish Mist brands in the international markets outside the United States.

Carolans and Irish Mist were acquired by Gruppo Campari in 2010 as part of a larger portfolio which also included Frangelico, the key acquisition target. Carolans is the second-largest selling Irish cream whiskey liqueur worldwide.

The product is produced in Ireland from Irish ingredients including fresh cream, honey and Irish whiskey. Irish Mist Liqueur, the first liqueur to be produced in Ireland, is a blend of Irish whiskey, honey and natural aromatic spices.

Heaven Hill Brands is America’s largest independent family-owned and operated distilled spirits group. The company is the overall sixth-largest supplier in the US and has produced and aged the second-largest inventory of bourbon in the world.

Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said: “The sale of Carolans and Irish Mist is the largest disposal ever completed by the group. We are very pleased to sign this transaction with Heaven Hill, a prominent spirits company in the US and a perfect fit for Carolans and Irish Mist.

"With this transaction, we continue to streamline our non-strategic portfolio and further increase our focus on our priority spirit brands, particularly in our largest and core US market. Moreover, thanks to this disposal, we can further accelerate in the reduction of our financial indebtedness.

"Since the beginning of 2016 we have divested non-strategic assets for a total value of approximately €260m.”

Heaven Hill Brands president Max Shapira said: “Carolans and Irish Mist are great historic brands that are highly complementary to our broad portfolio of leading brands.

"We look forward to building on the strong success these brands have achieved both in the US and around the world.”