Duke Street exits French drinks business

European buyout firm Duke Street Capital has realised its 70 percent stake in Marie Brizard & Roger International through a €213m sale to drinks distributor Belvedere.

UK- and French-based mid-market firm Duke Street Capital has sold its majority investment in Paris-listed French drinks company Marie Brizard & Roger International (MBRI) to Polish vodka distributor Belvedere for €213 million ($261 million).
 
Duke Street originally acquired a 69.3 percent stake in MBRI from 23 institutional funds in a €180 million transaction in May 2000.
 
Following the original acquisition, Duke Street said that it put new management in place, including CEO Eric Brousse, former CEO of Val d’Orbieu, one of the largest wine groups in France. In addition, MBRI carried out a number of acquisitions, including alcoholic drinks businesses Les Chais Beaucairois in August 2002 and William Pitters in March 2005.
 
MBRI also sold off non-strategic subsidiaries under Duke Street’s ownership, including SNCB wines and US-based Marie Brizard Wines and Spirits in 2003, Soverei wines in 2004 and the company’s gastronomic division in 2005.
 
“The build-up strategy implemented by a new management team completely transformed Marie Brizard into a market leader in the European wines and spirits market,” said Frederic Chauffier, managing partner of Duke Street Capital in Paris, in a release. “With turnover of €334 million in 2005 and EBITDA of €38.5 million, the group has created a solid base from which to continue to pursue strong growth opportunities, both in France and internationally.”
 
Founded in 1755, Bordeaux-headquartered MBRI is one of France’s largest independent producers and distributors of spirits, wines and alcohol-free beverages. The company produces and distributes brands including Old Lady’s gin, Veuve du Vernay wine, Berger Anise and Sirop Sport from facilities in France, Spain and the US.