United Spirits (USL) has confirmed the sale of its Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky arm to the Philippines-based drinks manufacturer, Emperador.
The deal was sealed for £430 million ($726 million), and will see Emperador, known for its brandy of the same name, take over the Scotch whisky brand, according to a statement released by the Indian drinks group.
Whyte & Mackay was put up for sale by USL in February after the British Office of Fair Trading (OFT) raised concerns about Diageo’s acquisition of a controlling stake in United Spirits in November last year, citing competition concerns.
However it is unclear if the deal, under which Emperador will supply USL with Scotch for three years, includes Whyte & Mackay’s Dalmore and Tamnavulin distilleries.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman of USL, said: “I am very proud of what Whyte & Mackay has achieved under USL ownership. Moreover, I am delighted to be able to pass on Whyte & Mackay into the hands of a new owner who is committed to realising the full potential of the business and whose vision for Whyte & Mackay is aligned with that of USL.”
Emperador, part of Alliance Global Group, is known for its Emperador Brandy label which tripled its growth since 2010 and is now the third largest spirit label by volume worldwide (following Jinro soju and Ruang Khao Thai spirit), according to Impact Databank.
Emperador Inc, controlled by billionaire Andrew Tan, recently posted first quarter sales up 17% to $173 million and is the largest spirits firm in the Phillipines.
The addition of Whyte & Mackay will give the group a significant footing into the Scotch whisky market.
Andrew Tan, chairman of Emperador, said: “Whisky is the second fasted growing spirits segment in the world next to brandy. With this acquisition Emperador will be exposed to two of the fastest growing spirits segments in the world. The global demand for Scotch whisky has shown strong growth over recent years and is expected to continue this momentum going forward.”
He added: “We believe that Whyte & Mackay is a prized asset with excellent growth opportunity and its acquisition is in line with our plans to enhance our product portfolio. Whyte & Mackay has gained a global distribution network in over 50 countries that Emperador Brandy will have access to.”
The sale, which has been recommended by USL’s board of directors, is subject to regulatory approvals in India and the UK.