MSP seeks promise that Grangemouth jobs are secure

Whyte & Mackay's Grangemouth bottling plant
Whyte & Mackay's Grangemouth bottling plant

Workers at the Whyte & Mackay bottling plant in Grangemouth are hoping to toast the arrival of new owners.

However, MSP Angus MacDonald is looking for an assurance that the facility has been safeguarded following last Friday’s announcement that the spirit business was being sold to Philippines-based Emperador Inc for £430 million.

Whyte & Mackay was acquired by Diageo in 2012 when it took a controlling interest in United Spirits Ltd (USL).

However, competition rules and an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading resulted in the company having to divest itself of the brand.

The regulator said Diageo, along with Whyte & Mackay, could manipulate whisky prices in the UK as both had a significant market share in this country.

USL bought Whyte & Mackay for £595 million in 2007.

No comment has yet been made on the future of the company’s four distilleries or the Grangemouth bottling plant.

Following the announcement, the Falkirk East MSP has written to the new owners asking for a guarantee that the 150 Grangemouth jobs are safe.

Mr MacDonald said: “At a local level the sale of Whyte & Mackay to Emperador Inc is welcome news. There has been a degree of uncertainty since United Spirits, following financial pressures, put Whyte & Mackay up for sale. Subsequently taken over by Diageo, there was further uncertainty following the ruling by the Office of Fair Trading that Diageo had to divest itself of this section of the multi-national company.

“However,I will be contacting Emperador Inc’s CEO to seek assurances over the future.

Whyte & Mackay had failed to respond to Falkirk Herald requests for a comment on the future of the bottling plant as we went to press.