MILAN, July 20 (Reuters) - Italian drinks group Campari said on Saturday it had entered exclusive negotiations to buy French firm Rhumantilles SAS in an effort to strengthen its rum business and grow its market in France.
Rhumantilles produces Caribbean Rhum Agricole brands via its Bellonnie & Bourdillon Successeurs (BBS) unit. It is owned by Compagnie Financière Chevrillon and a group of minority shareholders.
Rhum is a specific type of the rum drink that is only made in the Caribbean.
Campari said the net sales of the firm, which makes the Mauny, Trois Rivières and Duquesne rhums, was 24.1 million euros ($27 million). It added that it would give financial details of the proposed accord once it had closed the deal.
The Italian firm said rum was a premium category “at the heart of the mixology trend and growing cocktail culture”.
It added: “Moreover, France is poised to become one of the group’s strategic markets and with this acquisition Campari group has the opportunity to add significant critical mass in this market.”
Campari is the world’s sixth largest spirits company and owns more than 50 brands, including Aperol, Grand Marnier and Wild Turkey bourbon. ($1 = 0.8913 euros) (Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Stephen Powell)