Pernod Ricard has finalized the €103m sale of Danish akvavit brands Aalborg and Brøndums to Norway’s largest spirits producer Arcus-Gruppen following regulatory approval, and reaffirmed its focus on 14 international 'priority brands'.
Announced last July, the US $134m deal also involves Pernord Ricard selling German akvavit brand Malteserkreuz Akvavit, Danish bitter brand Gammel Dansk and the Aalborg production plant.
As a leading player in the Nordic region, Arcus-Gruppen already owns akvavit (or aquavit) brand Linie, international vodka brand Vikingfjord and top-selling Nordic cognac brand Braastad.
The NOK 2bn ($356m) turnover company is also the largest importer of wine to the Swedish market and the Norwegian markets; the deal will increase its spirits sales by around 50%.
Splashing the (international) cash
Pernod Ricard said the sale was in line with itsgroup strategy focus on “priority brands”, and BeverageDaily.com asked press relations manager Florence Taron why the company did not fit akvavit into this category.
“We have 14 key brands,” she said. “And we want to put our money and focus on the big international brands, rather than the local ones.”
Specifically, Pernod Ricard classifies Absolut Vodka and Chivas Regal as ‘global icons’, while Beefeater, Havana Club, Jameson, Kahlúa, Malibu and Ricard are ‘strategic premium’ spirits brands.
Five ‘strategic prestige’ spirits and champagne brands include Martell, The Glenlivet, Perrier-Jouët and Royal Salute.
Getting akvavit ‘moving again’
Asked about the loan-financed deal this morning, Arcus-Gruppen communication manager Terje Thurmann-Moe said he was unable to comment. He referred us to the firm’s CEO, Otto Drakenburg, who could not be reached.
However, Thurmann-Moe told BeverageDaily.com back in July 2012 that the firm hoped to get its Nordic akvavit business “moving again” via the deal and develop the spirit in international markets.
He added that Arcus-Gruppen had suffered slight sales declines for principal brand Linie in recent years, but would leverage the acquisitions to develop strong Nordic brands.