ITALY – Italian drinks company, Campari Group has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire its current French distributor Baron Philippe de Rothschild France Distribution.

The distributor is currently fully owned by Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The deal is subject to the completion of the appropriate social processes and to customary antitrust approval.

Campari Group said that it has also been provided with a ‘put option’, which gives the buyer the right to sell a set number of equity shares at a set price before a certain expiration date.

Upon a hopefully positive conclusion of the negotiations, Campari Group said it will provide the key financial terms of the deal.

The move forms part of Campari’s continued efforts focusing on consolidating its stake in the French beverage market. The company recently entered into an agreement with Chevrillon Group to acquire premium brands owner, Rhumantilles SAS.

Rhumantilles owns 96.5% of Martinique based company Bellonnie & Bourdillon Successeurs, which produces the Trois Rivières and La Mauny brands. The brands have a strong presence in France and potential for international growth.

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

The group had earlier on indicated that France is set to become one of its strategic markets and the deals 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).

During the nine months to end September 2019, the company reported strong organic sales growth, showing continuous sales mix improvement driven by the Global Priorities in the high margin developed markets.

Campari Group posted an organic growth of 6.9%. Sales during the period grew to €1,303.8 million (US$1441.82 million)while gross profit was €808.6 million (US$894.2 million).

The company’s sales in Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa (which formed 27.8% of total Group sales) registered positive organic growth of 8.1%, driven by a very solid performance driven by France (10.3% growth), thanks to Aperol and Riccadonna brands.