Loch Lomond Backers To Toast Takeover Deal
The owners of the Loch Lomond single malt whisky brand are close to toasting a payday that could net them tens of millions of pounds from a sale of the company.
I understand that the shareholders in the Loch Lomond Distillery Company are in advanced talks about a deal to agree a takeover by a number of private investors. Investment bankers at HSBC are advising Loch Lomond on the sale.
If a takeover is agreed, it would end the independence of one of Scotland's oldest whisky producers. The family of Sandy Bulloch, Loch Lomond's current chairman, traces its interest in the industry back to 1842, when Gabriel Bulloch partnered JH Dewar in a Scotch wholesaling business in Glasgow, according to the company's website.
Loch Lomond branched out into retail outlets as well as becoming one of the largest independent bottlers of spirits in Scotland. It owns the Glen's vodka brand, which it says is the second-biggest seller in the UK, as well as a bottling plant called Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Company.
The identity of the party which is in talks to acquire Loch Lomond was unclear on Thursday although it is understood not to be another prominent player in the Scotch or spirits industry. The value of the deal is also unclear although a person close to the situation said it would make the shareholders "very wealthy individuals".
Media reports last year said that the company recorded a modest rise in turnover from £17.83m to £18.3m in the year to March 31, 2011. Accounts filed at Companies House show that Loch Lomond made a pre-tax loss of nearly £200,000 during the following 12-month period, with which directors said they were "happy" despite "a demanding year".
Among the claims that Loch Lomond makes about itself is that it is the second-largest family-owned distillery in Scotland and that it is the only distillery in Scotland that produces both grain and malt whisky on the same site. Its average annual production is 10m litres of grain alcohol and 2.5m litres of malt alcohol, the equivalent of 43 million standard bottles of whisky every year.
Loch Lomond is one of the few prominent whisky producers not to count itself among the members of the industry body, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). A spokeswoman for the SWA said it could not provide information about Loch Lomond, while the company did not return calls seeking comment.