Remy Cointreau acquires 100% of Cognac LarsenBy Becky Paskin
Remy Cointreau has signed an agreement to acquire Cognac producer Larsen, for an undisclosed sum.
The French drinks group has been in exclusive negotiations with Larsen to acquire a take in the group since October, when it announced it was seeking a majority share.
Founded in 1926, Cognac Larsen, known as the ‘Cognac of the Vikings’, was one of the last remaining independent producers of AOC Cognac. Its core range of products includes a VSVC, VSOP, XO, XO Extra d’Or, Arctic XO and Leif Eiriksson XO.
The company also produces several special edition releases, including the Viking Bell, Extra Reserve, Viking Ship – which is presented in hand-painted porcelain or glass decanters – and Pineau des Charentes, an aperitif made from Cognac and grape must.
In a statement, Remy said it was attracted by Cognac Larsen’s substantial stock of aged eaux-de-vie.
“Over three generations, the company has built up inventories of aged eaux-de-vie which enables it to guarantee the quality of its production and optimise its purchasing power,” it said.
It is unclear whether the Larsen family will continue to have any involvement in the running of the business.
Meanwhile, Remy Cointreau’s own Cognac brand, Remy Martin, is the third largest Cognac brand in the world, behind Martell and Hennessy, selling 1.7m cases in 2011. In its interim financial statement for the six months to 30 September 2012, Remy Cointreau reported organic sales growth for its leading Cognac brand of 20.1%, with operating profit achieving 44.1% growth to €131.4m.
It’s thought Remy Cointreau will utilise its existing routes to market to establish Cognac Larsen in its core markets of the US and China, where upmarket Cognac is in high demand.