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Conviviality ‘controls 8%’ of market, says CEO

Following the acquisition of Bibendum, Conviviality now controls the alcoholic drinks supply for as much as 8% of the UK on-trade, according to CEO Diana Hunter.

Conviviality CEO Diana Hunter

Hunter made the claim during a discussion with the drinks business after news broke that Conviviality, which owns Matthew Clark – the UK’s largest national alcoholic drinks wholesaler – had bought Bibendum PLB group for £60m.

“Our total turnover is now £1.4 billion, and we are just shy of £1bn for purely the on-trade, meaning that we now control about 8% of the market,” she said, referring to the supply of beers, wines and spirits to pubs, bars and restaurants in the UK.

Speaking about the decision to buy Bibendum PLB, Hunter stressed that it was a complementary business for Matthew Clark, a wholesaler that has traditionally been weaker in the south-east, where Bibendum is strongest.

“Bibendum’s huge strength is the premium on-trade in London and the south-east, and, we [Conviviality] could either grow organically or be acquisitive to achieve this, and we’ve been acquisitive.”

Continuing she stated, “There is a clear difference between the customer base of Bibendum PLB and Matthew Clark.”

Back in 2010, Matthew Clark launched Wine Studio to serve the upmarket on-trade, particularly within London, but the national wholesaler had “put the pause button” on this side of the business before Conviviality acquired Matthew Clark for £200 million in October last year, according to Hunter.

On-trade drinks data specialist CGA Strategy states that the total on-trade market for alcohol in the UK is currently worth £24.1 billion (MAT to 19.03.2016).

Should Conviviality now be supplying £1bn worth of alcoholic drinks to the UK on-trade, that would in fact give the newly-enlarged wholesaler just over 4% of the market, which is almost half what Hunter suggested.

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