By Andrew Starke
The chief operating officer of Independent Distillers, Myles Anceschi, has declared ‘business as usual’ after it was confirmed that Asahi Group Holdings will buy New Zealand beverage maker Independent Liquor.
The Auckland-based Independent Liquor Group, which has Independent Distillers as it’s Australian subsidiary, sold for $1.3 billion.
The company leads the New Zealand RTD market and is third in the sector in Australia.
Independent’s portfolio includes RTDs such as Vodka Cruizer and Woodstock Bourbon, and beer with labels including Carlsberg and Kingfisher, as well as wine and spirits.
Asahi has existing soft drink operations in Australia through Schweppes Australia, acquired in 2009, and is in the process of acquiring the water and juice business of P&N Beverages Australia as well as New Zealand soft drink maker Charlie’s.
The Japanese company expects the acquisition to gain it a strong position in the alcoholic beverage markets in New Zealand and Australia.
“By promoting collaboration with existing beverage business groups in the region, Asahi aims to enhance its overall corporate value in Oceania,” said the company in a statement.
“Flavoured Beverages (the holding company for both Independent Distillers and Independent Liquor) has maintained a strong market position over the years ranking first in New Zealand and third in Australia in terms of sales volume in the RTD market.
“The company operates one plant in each of New Zealand and Australia and has a broad sales network servicing both major national and independent retailers.”
From the Independent Distillers side, Anceschi told TheShout said it was ‘business as usual’ and said he expected the company to focus on maintaining momentum while Asahi decides how to integrate its acquisitions.