LVMH buys into whisky venture

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 January, 1999, 12:00am

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxury goods and drinks group, yesterday moved to expand its presence in the mainland, buying a key stake in a whisky joint venture between Glenmorangie and Tian Jin Foodstuffs.

The move will strengthen LVMH's mainland business, where it distributes through its joint venture with Diageo, the British drinks giant, and Jardine Pacific.

Yesterday, Glenmorangie, Scotland's largest independent whisky producer, said it was selling 39 per cent in the venture for US$1.2 million, reducing its stake from 60 per cent to 39 per cent, and the holding owned by Tian Jin - a subsidiary of Golden Star Import & Export - to 22 per cent.

Glenmorangie is hoping to use LVMH's mainland experience to boost its brands, which include Glenmorangie, Highland Spirit and Jin Man Ying, or Chinese White Spirit.

LVMH also distributes Johnnie Walker Scotch, Gordons gin, Hennessy brandy and Moet & Chandon champagne.

'LVMH's participation will allow Glenmorangie to develop its brands in China with improved prospects at lower risk,' Glenmorangie chairman Geoffrey Maddrell said.

'In addition, Glenmorangie's brands will be able to leverage off improved distribution in association with the LVMH brands.' LVMH's move this month to buy almost 20 per cent of Italian fashion house Gucci, and its recent purchase of Duty Free Shoppers, put it in a potentially strong position to resume its expansion into Asia.