Distiller bought by SA drinks firm

WhiskyA Scotland-based distiller has been bought by a South African drinks company for £160 million.

Distell Group acquired Burn Stewart Distillers, which owns brands such as Scottish Leader and Black Bottle.

It also operates three distilleries: Bunnahabhainn on Islay, Tobermory on Mull and Deanston near Stirling.

Distell financial director Merwe Botha said: "Our acquisition of Burn Stewart is a very significant development for Distell from a strategic perspective but also given the rich and proud history and heritage of the brands involved.

"It gives us an outstanding foundation from which to build, while cherishing their individual traditions."

Burn Stewart employs about 200 staff across its global sites and has a blending plant in Airdrie and a bottling hall in East Kilbride.

Distell employs nearly 5,000 people and produces brandies, cognacs, white spirits and liqueurs.

Fraser Thornton, managing director of Burn Stewart, said: "It's really good news for the business and the staff. Getting Distell means the business has a well-financed and secure owner whose goals are in line with those of Burn Stewart. They're a dedicated drinks company.

"Because they don't have any other operations in Scotland, it's not as though anybody need be concerned about their jobs. It's very positive in that respect."