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Campari buys Picon apéritif for €119m

Aperol owner Campari Group has strengthened its position in the French apéritif market with the acquisition of Picon from Diageo for approximately €119 million (US$125.5m).

Picon aperitif
Picon leads the bitter apéritif category in France

Italian firm Campari Group, known for its flagship apéritifs Aperol and Campari, closed its Picon deal with Diageo yesterday (10 May).

Described as a ‘market-leading’ apéritif with an orange flavour, Picon was created in 1837 by Gaétan Picon.

The expression is made from a base of dried herbs and fresh oranges.

It is currently available in two variants: Amer Picon Club, an orange-based liqueur with a bittersweet flavour for mixing with wine and cocktails, and Amer Picon Bière, which is recommended mixed with beer.

For the year ending 30 June 2021, Campari Group said Picon’s sales reached €21.5m (US$22.7m).

The brand generates nearly 80% of its sales in France, where it holds a leading position in the bitter apéritif category. The rest of the brand’s sales predominantly come from Benelux.

Campari said the deal enhances its brand offering in the bitter apéritif sector in global markets and increases its ‘critical mass’ in France and Benelux.

France is currently Campari Group’s fourth-biggest market, accounting for 5.9% of the firm’s net sales in 2021.

The move to buy Picon strengthens the firm’s position in the market, and follows other regional acquisitions including French agricole rums Trois Rivières and La Mauny in 2019.

Furthermore, the Italian group took control of its French distribution after purchasing local distributor Baron Philippe de Rothschild for €60m (US$66m) in 2020.

Diageo said the divestment has immediately provided an ‘exceptional gain’ of £64m (US$79m), with no material impact on earnings per share.

John Kennedy, Diageo’s president of Europe, noted that Picon has a loyal consumer base in France and Belgium. He said the sale represents part of the firm’s strategy on managing its portfolio.

He said: “As part of our commitment to delivering consistent, efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders, we maintain a sharp focus on active portfolio management.

“This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximise returns over time.”

As part of this transaction, Diageo has agreed a two-year supply agreement with Campari Group.

Milan-headquartered Campari Group recently reported double-digit sales growth for the first quarter of 2022, led by its core apéritif brands.

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