BenRiach team poised to buy Glendronach

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ONE of Scotland's oldest distilleries is set to be snapped up by a South African consortium in a £15 million deal.

The consortium, which already owns the BenRiach distillery on Speyside, is reportedly close to signing a deal for neighbouring whisky manufacturing site Glendronach.

The team, led by whisky veteran Billy Walker, former operations director for Burn Stewart Distillers, wants to buy the distillery from current owner Pernod Ricard.

The other members of the group are Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter, who paid about 5m for the BenRiach distillery in 2002.

At the time of acquisition, the facility was mothballed, but the consortium has since built it into an award-winning business.

Analysts have said the distillery will be a good fit for the BenRiach group's portfolio.

A spokesman for Pernod Ricard was quoted as saying: "The sale of Glendronach is making good progress and we expect to complete the sale by September."

Glendronach was established in 1826 by James Allardice, one of the original Scotch whisky entrepreneurs.

It was sold to William Teacher & Sons in the 1960s, but was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2005 as part of the portfolio it took on after acquiring UK rival Allied Domecq. It is understood that the distillery is surplus to Pernod Ricard's requirements following the expansion of its Glenlivet distillery and the reopening of its other facilities at Allt a'Bhainne.

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