FRANCE – Italian drinks company, Campari Group has entered into exclusive talks with Chevrillon to acquire French company Rhumantilles SAS, the owner of premium rum brands Trois Rivières and La Mauny.

Rhumantilles owns 96.5% of Martinique based company Bellonnie & Bourdillon Successeurs, which in turn produces the ‘to be acquired’ brands Trois Rivières and La Mauny.

The brands have a strong presence in France and potential for international growth.

Bellonnie & Bourdillon Successeurs also produces Duquesne, a brand designed for the local market.

The transaction includes the brands, the land holdings, the related distilleries and visitor centers as well as a high-quality aged rum inventory.

The rum brands obtained the Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) ‘Rhum Agricole de la Martinique’ certification, which is said to provide a “significant barrier to entry for potential competitors”.

Campari said net sales of BBS was €24.1 million (US$27 million).

Family-owned French investment company Chevrillon Group purchased BBS in 2012.

“With this contemplated acquisition Campari Group will have an opportunity to add prestigious Rhum agricole brands to its offering and enhance its exposure to rum, a premiumising category currently at the heart of the mixology trend and growing cocktail culture,” said Campari in a statement.

“Upon the hopefully positive conclusion of the negotiations, Campari Group will communicate thereupon and provide the key financial terms of the transaction.”

The acquisition adds to Campari Group’s portfolio of premium brands, with the rum category projected to rapidly grow in popularity in cocktails.

The group said France is set to become one of its strategic markets and the deal gives it the opportunity to further expand in the region.

Campari Group last year acquired premium cognac brand Bisquit from South Africa’s Distell for €52.5 million (US$58.7 million).

Bisquit brand includes range of cognacs, namely Bisquit V.S. Classique, Bisquit V.S.O.P., Bisquit Prestige and Bisquit X.O.