Inver House Distillers sold to Pacific Spirits for £56m

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Related tags: Scotch whisky, Whisky

Inver House Distillers, the Airdrie-based spirits group has been sold to Pacific Spirits for £56m.The deal will trigger multimillion-pound windfalls...

Inver House Distillers, the Airdrie-based spirits group has been sold to Pacific Spirits for £56m.

The deal will trigger multimillion-pound windfalls for its directors and payouts of thousands of pounds to employees.

All employees will receive at least £1,000 and long-serving employees will be in line for a windfall of £50,000 after tax.

Pacific Spirits is part of the Great Oriole Group, the Thai based spirits and beer group. The deal will give Inver house global exposure and add Scotch whisky to Great Oriole's portfolio.

The group was bought by its management for £8.2m in 1988 from Publicker Industries of the US. Bill Robison and Angus Graham, who led the buy-out, and each owned 38.5 per cent of the company, taking into account family interests, will retire. They both stand to net up to £21.5m.

Graeme Thomson, sales and marketing director, and Bob Boyle, operations director, who were also involved heavily in the buy-out, each have stakes of some 6.5 per cent, valued at about £3.6m.

Mr Boyle will stay on until Christmas 2002. Graham Stevenson, who joined the company in 1994 will continue as managing director.

Mr Stevenson said: "It will be business as usual as there will be no direct involvement from Pacific Spirits. We will work closely with the rest of the group and look to exploit our business where the larger group has particular strengths."

Speyburn is Inver House's biggest-selling single malt, targeted at the US market, and the distiller has also invested heavily in the Pulteney Distillery in Wick to produce a 12-year-old Old Pulteney malt for the British market.

More than 90 per cent of Inver House's product is sold overseas - to more than 80 countries - with the focus on Europe and the US. France and the US are the company's biggest single export markets. The company sells 80,000 cases of single malt each year.

Last year the Inver House made £6.8m profits on sales of £38m.

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