Hope for Grangemouth workers as buyers consider Whyte & Mackay bids

The Whyte & Mackay bottling plant in Grangemouth employs 150 people
The Whyte & Mackay bottling plant in Grangemouth employs 150 people

The future of Grangemouth’s Whyte & Mackay bottling plant looks brighter now interest in the firm is brewing among potential buyers.

The 150 workers at the South Lumley Street plant were unclear whether operations would continue after owners Diageo were told to sell the brand following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into competition standards in the drinks industry.

Diageo took ownership of Whyte & Mackay in 2012, spending £344 million to take a controlling 25 per cent interest in India’s United Spirits, but has now been forced to actively market the firm.

Thankfully for workers in Grangemouth, two interested parties have expressed an interest in purchasing the company.

Suntory has begun preliminary talks and it is believed the Japanese whisky maker has joined UK-based private equity fund Vasari Global as a possible bidder for Whyte & Mackay.

South African businessman Vivian Imerman, the brand’s former owner, is also reportedly considering buying back the company in a £600 million deal.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald welcomed news of the level of interest the firm was generating.

He said: “At a local level the intervention of Suntory and Vasari is extremely welcome news for the future of Whyte & Mackay. The news Suntory has started preliminary talks will come as a relief to the 150 workers at the Grangemouth bottling plant who have been unsure what the future hold for them.”

The good news comes as the Scottish Government revealed HMRC figures that reveal an 87 per cent increase in Scotch whisky exports in the last 10 years.