Edrington and Beam toast Maxxium

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DRINKS distributor Maxxium is toasting a leap in profits as connoisseurs across the Americas, Asia and Europe continue to sate their thirst for “core brands” including Famous Grouse whisky and Jim Beam bourbon.

The Stirlingshire-based firm – which is a joint venture between Highland Park-distiller Edrington Group and New York-listed spirits giant Beam – sells drinks across 24 countries.

Pre-tax profits jumped by 15 per cent to £5.9 million in the year to 31 March, despite turnover slipping by 1 per cent to £231m, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Maxxium said the dip in sales was due to distribution of certain brands ending and that revenues on a like-for-like basis had grown by 3 per cent.

Labels under Maxxium’s umbrella include Edrington’s Brugal rum and Macallan Scotch whisky, along with Courvoisier brandy, Maker’s Mark bourbon and Laphroaig single malt whisky from Beam.

Maxxium’s headcount dipped to 233 from 246 after “changes in the back office accounting and supply chain structure”.

Beam – which also owns whisky brands Ardmore and Teacher’s – was de-merged from Fortune Brands last year and has become the subject of renewed takeover speculation in the past week after it emerged Johnnie Walker-producer Diageo and Morrison Bowmore-owner Suntory had held talks earlier this year to mull a joint takeover bid.

Talk of a possible offer was stoked after Diageo – Scotland’s largest distiller and the maker of Bell’s, J&B and Talisker – abandoned plans to bid for tequila brand Jose Ceurvo.

Diageo is already buying a controlling stake in Whyte & Mackay-owner United Spirits, Vijay Mallya’s Indian group.