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Invararity Morton sets sights on England in Forth Wines acquisition

Published:  24 October, 2013

Scotland's Invararity Morton has acquired Forth Wines for an undisclosed seven-figure sum and hopes to expand the business's reach south of the border.

The news comes just two years after the independent wine and spirits wholesaler was formed from the merger of Wm Morton and Inverarity Vaults - making it Scotland's largest privately owned drinks distributor.

Invararity Morton currently supplies more than 2,000 customers in the licensed trade and the new company will boast a workforce of more than 200 and a combined turnover of £75 million.

With 22% of Forth Wines' business generated in England, compared with just 10% for Inverarity Morton, the company says it has seized an opportunity to expand its reach beyond the Scottish borders.

Stephen Russell, managing director at Inverarity Morton, said: "Although the focus for me is still Scotland, the deal certainly paves the way for us to go more aggressively into England, where sales at present account for a much smaller share of our overall turnover.

"There were a number of factors that attracted us to Forth Wines. Over the past three years the directors have helped steer the business on a strong growth path and they now occupy a premium space in the market. Volume-wise, they sell about as much wine as we do in a year and that's no small feat.

"Our wine portfolio is one of our biggest selling points and one we work tirelessly to ensure it remains unequalled on breadth, depth and value."

The companies will continue to operate independently for the next three months to minimise disruption for customers, and there are plans to recruit new staff to handle an increased workload at Forth Wines' Milnathort site.