USL all set to be world's No 1 spirits maker

Sharing its business plans with investors and analysts on Thursday, the company said that it will invest Rs 1,100 crore over the next three years on capacity expansion.

"USL sold 100 million cases during FY2010 to become the second largest spirits maker in the world. (It is) growing at robust double digit rate....At the current rate of 12 per cent per annum, USL is poised to become the No 1 spirits company within the current fiscal," the company said.

Last year USL had overtaken France's Pernod Ricard to be the world's second largest liquor maker after Diageo.

Already, the firm's Bagpiper Whisky is the world's largest selling spirits brand with sales of over 16 million cases last fiscal, it said.

Commenting on the current business plan, the company said that it has a "planned investment of about Rs 1,100 crore over the next three years" to build additional distillation and bottling capacity and malt spirit production facility. It, however, did not elaborate.

The company also said that it will introduce new brands in the premium segment, increase presence in the Scotch segment across various price points and introduce Whyte & Mackay brands.

The company said that it intends to make W&M a branded scotch whisky player and also plans to enhance its brand positioning by launching more variants under its other premium whisky brands like Dalmore and Jura.

Besides, it will enhance share in the global scotch whisky market through W&M by increasing presence in key emerging markets and tapping opportunities in private label in markets in Europe. Its share in branded business in the UK will, however, be reduced from 45 per cent to 30 per cent.

In India, the company said it plans to consolidate W&M's position in the scotch market and aims to achieve a market share of 20 per cent by selling 2.75 lakh cases over the next two years.

In 2009-10, United Spirits sold 1.5 lakh cases of W&M and had a market share of 15 per cent in India.

The company said it plans to launch "value scotch brand as well as high vintage variants". Besides, it is also looking at increasing scotch distribution to 25,000 retail outlets from the current 15,000.

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