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Staff Stays As ‘Distillers’ Change Hands

Image: Mrs. Margaret Monplaisir

M.D. Says: ‘Bright Future Ahead.

Image of Mrs. Margaret Monplaisir
Mrs. Margaret Monplaisir

SAINT LUCIA Distillers Group of Companies (SLD) has been acquired by Martinique conglomerate Group Bernard Hayot (GBH).

Founded in 1960, GBH has a number of businesses through the French overseas departments including Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Reunion and New Caledonia, as well as other enterprises based in Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, West Africa, China, Morocco and Algeria.

The group currently employs in excess of 8,500 people and is concentrated in three divisions: automotive distribution, retail/wholesale distribution and industrial production.

(GBH) owns two successful distilleries in Martinique – Rhum Clément and Rhum J.M. The acquisition of SLD brings together two established traditions of rum making – RhumAgricole and molasses based – into one portfolio. GBH intends to put in place a comprehensive investment programme for St Lucia Distiller’s production and warehousing facilities.

SLD’s commitment to traditional artisanal rum, made to the highest possible standards, will remain at the centre of its philosophy and will therefore mirror the same ethos employed by Rhum Clément and Rhum J.M.

The management and staff of St Lucia Distillers will all be retained under the new ownership and the management structure will remain unchanged. SLD will continue to use its existing export market distributors, but will also tap into the distribution network of GBH’s other brands, which will facilitate the continued expansion of Chairman’s Reserve, Admiral Rodney and 1931 into the global markets.

St Lucia Distillers’ Managing Director, Mrs. Margaret Monplaisir, expressed her delight at the acquisition: “I am excited and very happy that St Lucia Distillers has a new owner committed to further investment in our distillery and helping us build our brands both locally and internationally. It is a tribute to the hard work of our 150 staff members, that such a major Caribbean company has seen the potential of our operation. We certainly have a bright future ahead and we are keen to begin working with our new owners. GBH also intends to use its considerable expertise to develop our tour at St Lucia Distillers making it a “must see” for visitors to St. Lucia, like they have done at Habitation Clement in Martinique’.

GBH Spirit Division’s Director GregoireGueden described the acquisition as “a natural progression given the close proximity of Martinique to St. Lucia and the similarity of our heritage and cultures. We admire the rums of St Lucia Distillers and believe we can build Chairman’s Reserve into a major global brand. It is our intention to invest in the distillery, warehousing and SLD’s work force so that we can continue to make some of the greatest rums in the world”.

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