Hillhouse buys Loch Lomond

06 June, 2019
Loch Lomond Hillhouse Capital Management

Hillhouse Capital Management, a global investment firm which describes itself as focusing on “innovative businesses in growth industries”, has bought scotch whisky producer, the Loch Lomond Group, from Exponent Private Equity.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Since the original buyout of Loch Lomond from the Bulloch family in 2014, the company says it has invested significantly in growing its portfolio of brands, distillery and bottling infrastructure, global distribution platform, and management team. The business now generates about 70% of its revenue from more than 120 international markets, versus fewer than 10% at acquisition.

The announcement states that teaming up with Hillhouse offers a strong partner for the business to further develop its international presence, particularly in Asia where whisky has become increasingly popular in recent years, and a market where Hillhouse has deep knowledge and strong business relationships.

Hillhouse says it also brings to the partnership a strong track record of building long-term relationships with innovative consumer brands, such as Peet’s Coffee and Gimborn, in helping them expand their global presence and reputation.

Loch Lomond has a history dating back to the early 19th century and is a leading international producer of malt, blended and grain whisky.

Its key premium scotch whisky brands include Loch Lomond – ‘The Spirit of the Open’, Glen Scotia, and Littlemill, which claims to be the ‘oldest licensed distillery in Scotland’. It also produces the ‘High Commissioner’ and Loch Lomond blended scotch whiskies, as well as Glen’s vodka and Ben Lomond scottish gin.

The company’s production spans sites across Scotland. It operates its Loch Lomond malt and grain distilleries at Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll and has its own bottling plant in Ayrshire.

Loch Lomond CEO Colin Matthews said: “Over the past five years we are proud to have transformed The Loch Lomond Group into a premium international spirits business with a strong focus on innovation and a portfolio of award-winning brands.

“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.

“The team at Hillhouse have impressed us immensely, and we look forward to partnering with them as we embark on the next exciting stage of our journey. We share both their vision and dedication to premium consumer brands."

Hillhouse Capital partner, Wei Cao, added: “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."





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