CL Financial sells US distillery

(Trinidad Guardian) CL Financial has sold the former Seagram distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana for US$29 million (TT$186 million), an official of the Government-controlled conglomerate confirmed yesterday. The official said that the new owner of the distillery is MGP Ingredients Inc, a company based in Atchison, Kansas. The new owners bought the 80-acre facility from Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana LLC, an entity created by CL Financial, which is the parent company of the Angostura Group of rum and bitters. According to a press release, the deal includes distillery assets, bulk barrel storage facilities, blending operations and a tank farm. It does not include packaging and bottling operations that are located adjacent to the distillery. Those operations are expected to be sold to a third party, MGPI said.

MGPI will pay cash equal to the current assets minus current liabilities of the distillery assets, currently estimated at $15 million, as of the closing date. Pending regulatory approval and closing conditions, the purchase is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011 or the first quarter of 2012. MGPI’s CEO Timothy Newkirk said the deal allows the company to start producing premium bourbon and corn and rye whiskeys, while also increasing its gin and grain neutral spirit products. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to acquire the LDI distillery, which is one of the largest beverage alcohol distilleries in the world,” he said. “The purchase is in response to the numerous requests from our customers to supply them with high quality whiskeys and bourbons, in addition to our premium vodkas and gins.”

The facility, located in the city of Lawrenceburg in the southeast corner of Indiana, was established in 1847 under the name Rossville Distillery. Through the years, it has been owned and operated at various periods by Joseph E. Seagram and Sons and Pernod Ricard. It was acquired by CL Financial in 2007 at which time the facility assumed its current name. CL Financial was founded by Lawrence Duprey. It got into difficulties in January 2009 and was bailed out by the Government. Both parties signed an agreement in June 2009 which gave the Government control of CL Financial by allowing the State to appoint a majority of directors to the conglomerate’s board. That agreement ends in June 2012.

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