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Lalique forms joint venture for Glenturret takeover

Luxury goods company Lalique Group has paid £15.5 million (US$20.2m) for a 50% stake in Glenturret Scotch whisky as part of a joint venture with Swiss entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss.

The Lalique Group’s 50% acquisition in Glenturret marks the company’s first foray into Scotch whisky

In December last year, Edrington sold the Glenturret distillery, home of The Famous Grouse Scotch whisky, to French wine producer Art & Terroir. The Art & Terroir wine business is owned by Silvio Denz, chairman and main shareholder of Lalique Group.

Switzerland-headquartered Lalique Group and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss will each own a 50% stake in The Glenturret through the joint venture, called Glenturret Holding.

Following the closing of the transaction on 29 March 2019, The Glenturret distillery, brand, warehouses, whisky stocks and visitor centre will become part of Glenturret Holding.

Denz provided a loan of CHF 4 million for the company’s 50% stake.

During 2019, the Lalique Group aims to propose to its shareholders a capital increase by way of a rights issue to refinance parts of Denz’s loan and pay for other growth initiatives. The loan will be paid over the next few years.

Details of Wyss’s payment for the remaining 50% stake have not been disclosed.

Wyss, who has owned a 3.64% stake in the Lalique Group through the Hansjörg Wyss Trust since 2015, will join Glenturret’s board of directors.

Denz said: “With The Glenturret now part of Lalique Group, we see considerable opportunities to leverage both brands, and we are committed to developing attractive joint initiatives to further strengthen our business.”

The Lalique Group takes its name from French crystal brand Lalique, which was created in Paris in 1888 by the master glassmaker and jewellery designer René Lalique.

‘Significant potential’ 

Lalique Group will “fully consolidate and will further develop the Glenturret business by leveraging both brands and its international network”. The deal will also implement joint initiatives in product design, distribution and hospitality. Through the joint venture, the Lalique Group will also control the board of directors.

The acquisition also includes more than one million litres of maturing whisky, aged in various cask types and at different strengths, with the oldest dating back to 1987. The stocks will allow for the blending of high-end single malts ranging in age from 10 to 40 years, as well as special edition releases.

In 2018, Glenturret posted a “modest” net profit of around £200,000 (US$260,520), which Lalique said is “not reflective of the actual profitability potential of the business and is due to significant intra-group sales at discount prices” under Edrington’s ownership.

After “moderate initial investments” over the next two years, Glenturret is expected to make “significantly higher and increasing contributions” to the company’s profits going forward.

Lalique Group sees “significant potential” in developing The Glenturret in the high-end single malt Scotch whisky market.

The Glenturret distillery has the ability to “considerably expand” its current production level of around 170,000 litres per year “without the need for significant investments”.

In the future, production will triple to around 500,000 litres annually, with increased volumes set to become available for blending by around 2026/2027. Predicted output for 2019 is 205,000 litres.

The team at Glenturret is expected to increase from 25 to 30 people to “enable the business to run on a stand-alone basis”.

Lalique Group will also “leverage its global network” across shops, online, hotels, restaurants and distribution capabilities to boost the Lalique and Glenturret brands together.

Among its joint plans for the brands are dual marketing initiatives, Glenturret whisky bottles by Lalique and limited edition whisky decanters in Lalique crystal.

A renovation of the visitor centre is also planned, with a Lalique shop expected to open onsite by 2020.

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