Dutch distributor buys Canei brand from Pernod Ricard

27 August, 2008
Page 6 
Dutch wine distribution group Baarsma plans further acquisitions in the wine world after buying the Italian brand Canei from Pernod Ricard.

Chief executive officer Tjeerd van der Hoek said the company would be looking to add to the portfolio of a new company, Winetracks International, which it is setting up to look after Canei in world markets.

"We are in the process of setting up the company to sell and market brands worldwide," said Van der Hoek. "About two-thirds of our business is in the Netherlands but with Canei we have a lot of distribution in other countries. It's the first step to growth outside."

He added the company would be looking for further acquisition opportunities, but was not interested in businesses from South Africa or Australia, to avoid conflicts of interest with distribution deals it holds for wines from Distell and Constellation in the Benelux countries.

"We are looking to buy not only brands, but companies with branded portfolios," said Van der Hoek.

The Canei acquisition alone strengthens the international position of Baarsma, which is the market-leading wine distributor in the Benelux countries and has subsidiaries in South Africa, France and Switzerland.

The semi-sparkling brand sold 10 million bottles in 2007 in 25 international markets. The product is sold in several styles, including two fruit-flavoured variants, and has an abv of less than 9 per cent across the range.

Cees de Rade, chief operating officer, said: "Canei offers large business potential and complements the worldwide demand for wines with a lower alcohol percentage."

Pernod Ricard will continue to make Canei for Baarsma at its production site in Piedmont.

Chief executive Noel Adrian said: "We bought Canei in 1988 to strengthen the group's position in the US and Europe.

"The divestment is in line with the group 's strategy to focus on its new core brand portfolio."

The investment group ABN Amro Captial bought a controlling stake in Baarsma at the start of this year.


Dominic Roskrow

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