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Diageo buys controlling interest in Ron Zacapa (Reuters)

Source: Diageo buys half of Zacapa for est. $100 mln plus | Reuters

LONDON, June 13, 2011 (Reuters) – Diageo Plc DGE.L, the world’s biggest spirits group, said it will purchase 50 percent of Guatemala’s upmarket Zacapa rum business, with analysts estimating it paid over $100 million for the stake.

The Britain-based Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky group entered a three-year distribution deal for the rum outside central America with family-owned Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala in 2008, with an option to take an equity stake at the end of the term, and it has now concluded a deal.

“We have now reached an agreement and, subject to the usual closing conditions, Diageo will take a 50 percent controlling stake in Zacapa,” Diageo said in a statement.

The London-based group gave no financial details of the deal, but said it met the group’s investment criterion and would make a positive effect on the company’s economic profit in year three after the deal is completed.

Zacapa rum is matured in oak barrels at 2,300 metres above sea level in the Guatemalan mountains dubbed the “house above the clouds”. Prices for the super premium rum start at around $35 a bottle and stretch up to around $100. (Reporting by David Jones; Editing by David Holmes)

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