Hillhouse Capital Management, a global investment management firm out of Asia, is set to purchase the Loch Lomond Group. Loch Lomond Group owns Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown, Littlemill Distillery on the border of Lowlands and Highlands, along with the Loch Lomond malt and grain distillery in Dunbartonshire and a bottling plant in Ayrshire.
The buyout is being described as a move to allow the company to grow further internationally, particularly in Asia.
‘We believe now is the right time to move forward into the next stage of our growth strategy as we look to innovate further, extend our portfolio of brands and continue to expand our international presence, particularly in Asia where Hillhouse has significant experience.’ Explains Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group.
In 2014 the Loch Lomond Group was purchased from the original owners, the Bulloch family by the UK-based private equity management firm Exponent. During the last 5 years the company’s business has grown to a point where 70% of stock is sold outside the UK, up from a mere 10% when it was purchased from the Bulloch family.
In a prepared statement, Wei Cao, partner at Hillhouse Capital, said: ‘Loch Lomond’s rich heritage in Scotch whisky gives the business a distinct advantage as they look to further build on their success across the world, especially in the increasingly discerning Asian spirits market.
‘Hillhouse’s experienced operational team will work closely with Loch Lomond’s management to help it offer a premium consumer experience in international markets through channels like e-commerce and new retail.
‘We believe that the strongest advantages in business are innovative and differentiated products and management teams, which is why we are so excited to help Loch Lomond realise the potential of its outstanding brands in huge new consumer markets, such as Asia.’
It is well known that only a quarter of Scotch Whisky distilleries are owned by Scottish companies, but unfortunately it appears that number is set to dwindle even further.