FRANCE – Italian beverage company Campari Group has acquired French bitter apéritif brand, Picon, from Diageo for around €119 million (US$124 million) in an effort to bolster its alcoholic beverage offering.

Picon, which is described as a bittersweet orange apéritif, is made with herbs and dried oranges. The apéritif is available in two variants: Amer Picon Club, an orange-based liqueur, and Amer Picon Bière.

For the fiscal year ended on 30 June 2021, the brand achieved net sales of €21.5 million (US$22.37 million), according to a statement from Campari.

“The brand generates almost 80% of its sales in France, where it has a leading position in the bitter apéritif category, whilst the remaining sales are mostly generated in the Benelux markets,” Campari said.

Its acquisition will expand Campari’s bitter apéritif offering in international markets and also help strengthen the group’s position in the French market.

Diageo’s president, Europe, John Kennedy, said that the sale was part of the company’s commitment to delivering consistent, efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders.

“We maintain a sharp focus on active portfolio management. This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximise returns over time,” Kennedy said.

“Whilst Picon has a strong heritage and loyal consumer base in France and Belgium, today’s announcement is another example of this strategy in action.”

As part of the terms of the transaction, Diageo has agreed to a two-year supply agreement with Campari to continue to produce the Picon portfolio.

The country is the group’s 4th largest individual market, accounting for 5.9% of its EUR2.17bn (US$2.46bn) of sales in the full year of 2021.

Priority in this market is strategic as revenue from alcohol sales alone amounts to US$53.57bn in 2022 and the market is expected to grow annually by 7.50% (CAGR 2022-2025), according to data from Statista.

Seeking to capitalize on this growth, Campari in the French market, having added Champagne Lallier and the Trois Rivières and La Mauny rum brands to its stable in recent years.

Meanwhile, Campari has announced plans to open several flagship bars for its best-selling spirits in Europe and beyond to help tap into a taste for the Italian aperitif culture.

“In the next five years we would like to have Camparino (bars) in London, New York, Singapore,” said Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz.

The drinks group also recently reported higher sales in the first three months of the year thanks to soaring demand for its Aperol and Campari bitters as bars and restaurants reopened in Europe.

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