Hillhouse Capital Management, a global investment firm with a focus on
innovative businesses in growth industries, today announced that it is
partnering with the management team from Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s
most historic and iconic whisky producers, to acquire Loch Lomond Group
from Exponent Private Equity.
Since the original buyout of Loch Lomond from the Bulloch family in
2014, the company has invested significantly in growing its portfolio of
brands, distillery and bottling infrastructure, global distribution
platform, and management team. The business now generates about 70% of
its revenue from more than 100 international markets, versus less than
10% at acquisition.
Teaming up with Hillhouse offers a strong partner for the business to
further develop its international presence, particularly in Asia where
whisky has become increasingly popular in recent years, and a market
where Hillhouse has deep knowledge and strong business relationships.
Hillhouse also brings to the partnership a strong track record of
building long-term relationships with innovative consumer brands, such
as Peet’s Coffee and Gimborn, in helping them expand their global
presence and reputation.
Loch Lomond has a rich heritage dating back to the early 19th
century and is a leading international producer of malt, blended and
grain whisky. Its key premium Scotch whisky brands include Loch Lomond –
“The Spirit of the Open,” Glen Scotia, and Littlemill, the oldest
licensed distillery in Scotland. It also produces the “High
Commissioner” and Loch Lomond blended Scotch whiskies, as well as Glen’s
Vodka, the No. 2 vodka brand in the UK market, and Ben Lomond, premium
The company’s production spans sites across Scotland. It operates its
Loch Lomond malt and grain distilleries at Alexandria in Dunbartonshire,
Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll and has its own bottling
plant in Catrine, Ayrshire.
Commenting on the sale, Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group, said,
“Over the past five years we are proud to have transformed The Loch
Lomond Group into a premium international spirits business with a strong
focus on innovation and a portfolio of award-winning brands.
“We believe now is the right time to move forward into the next stage of
our growth strategy as we look to innovate further, extend our portfolio
of brands and continue to expand our international presence,
particularly in Asia where Hillhouse has significant experience.
“The team at Hillhouse have impressed us immensely, and we look forward
to partnering with them as we embark on the next exciting stage of our
journey. We share both their vision and dedication to premium consumer
Wei Cao, Partner at Hillhouse Capital, commented, “Loch Lomond’s
rich heritage in Scotch whisky gives the business a distinct advantage
as they look to further build on their success across the world,
especially in the increasingly discerning Asian spirits market.
Hillhouse’s experienced operational team will work closely with Loch
Lomond’s management to help it offer a premium consumer experience in
international markets through channels like e-commerce and new retail.
We believe that the strongest advantages in business are innovative and
differentiated products and management teams, which is why we are so
excited to help Loch Lomond realize the potential of its outstanding
brands in huge new consumer markets, such as Asia.”
Mark Taylor, Partner at Exponent, said: “We are very proud to
have partnered with Colin and his team at Loch Lomond over the last 5
years, demonstrating Exponent’s investment philosophy of backing unique
companies with great management and huge untapped potential.
“We are delighted with the successful sale to Hillhouse, and we believe
they will be great partners for the business. We wish both the
management team and Hillhouse every success for the future and look
forward to seeing the company continue to prosper.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
About Loch Lomond Group
Loch Lomond Group is an international premium branded spirits business
with global presence in over 120 countries. The company’s production
spans sites across Scotland and is one of the few distillers to have a
fully integrated production and supply capability with 2 distilleries at
Alexandria in Dunbartonshire and on-site cooperage, Glen Scotia
distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll and its own bottling plant in Catrine,
Its multi award-winning portfolio of brands include Loch Lomond, Glen
Scotia and Littlemill, recently discovered to be the oldest licensed
distillery in Scotland. It also produces the “High Commissioner” and
Loch Lomond blended Scotch whiskies, as well as Glen’s Vodka, the No. 2
vodka brand in the UK market, and Ben Lomond premium Scottish Gin.
In 2018 the company signed a five-year partnership with The R&A for Loch
Lomond Whiskies to become “The Spirit of The Open”. The period includes
the playing of the landmark 150th Open in 2021 at St Andrews, the home
For further information visit Loch Lomond Whiskies on Twitter:
@LochLomondMalts, Instagram: @lochlomondmalts Facebook: Loch Lomond
Whiskies and at www.lochlomondwhiskies.com
About Hillhouse Capital
Hillhouse builds businesses that stand the test of time. We are
long-term investors focused on partnering with world-class entrepreneurs
to help them grow their businesses globally. Over more than a decade,
we’ve worked alongside iconic companies that have redefined their
industries. With offices in Hong Kong, New York, Beijing and Singapore,
we look for opportunities around the globe, and have the flexibility to
work across the private equity spectrum, from seed investments to
buyouts. We manage capital on behalf of global institutions such as
non-profit foundations and pensions, and we are proud that our efforts
help support educational scholarships, scientific innovation, and
artistic achievements across the world.
Established in 2004, Exponent is one of the UK’s leading private equity
firms, investing in companies with enterprise values between £100m and
£400m. The company seeks to identify untapped potential and navigate
complexity to unlock growth for its portfolio companies and investors.
Its current and former investments in consumer media and publishing
businesses include the Times Educational Supplement, Immediate Media and
the Racing Post. A selection of Exponent’s other investments includes
Quorn Foods, Photobox Group, Big Bus Tours, the Ambassador Theatre Group