Indian firm buys Whyte & Mackay

For generations, India has been importing Scotch whisky to satisfy a strong demand created during the British rule over the nation. Now, the Indian company United Spirits Ltd., part of the United Breweries group headed by Vijay Mallya, has purchased Scotch maker Whyte & Mackay Ltd. for US$834 million.

Whyte & Mackay is a leading distiller of Scotch whisky, with such other brands as The Dalmore, Isle of Jura, Glayva and Fettercairn, plus Viadivar vodka. United Spirits also owns several other Scotch whisky brands such as Mackinlays, John Barr, Cluny and Clayrnore.

The Indian company -- which also makes and distributes beer, headed by its flagship Kingfisher brand -- now will also have better access to international distribution, and be able to export its brands. It sold 66 million cases of spirits for the year ended March 31. Whyte & Mackay, which was founded in Glasgow in 1844, sold 9 million cases and case equivalents in the past 12 months.

The aforementioned Vijay Mallya, a billionaire member of the Indian parliament, is one of his country's top entrepreneurs. His company also owns the Kingfisher Airline.

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