Barry & Fitzwilliam seeking to gain control of Galvin’s Wholesale group

DRINK distribution company Barry & Fitzwilliam is hoping to gain control of fellow Cork-based group Galvin’s Wholesale – which went into examinership in September – by the end of this week.

Weekend reports suggested that Barry & Fitzwilliam – which is headed by Michael Barry and generated sales of €83 million last year – was eyeing up all or part of Galvin’s and had appointed Deloitte to carry out due diligence on the business.

When contacted by the Irish Examiner yesterday, Mr Barry would only confirm that the group had appointed Deloitte to carry out the due diligence.

It is understood, however, that Barry’s is looking for a quick conclusion to the matter and is looking to either have gained control of Galvin’s or to have withdrawn its interest by Friday.

The group is also understood to be interested in taking control of Galvin’s in its entirety. That would see a small number of new brands come under its distribution guidance but most notably would add Galvin’s Carry Out off-licence chain to the B&F stable. Also, while it has been reported that others have indicated an interest in the Galvin’s business, it is thought there are only two or three others interested, but that B&F is the only one to have moved to the due diligence stage.

Barry & Fitzwilliam is one of the leading drink distribution businesses in the country; controlling the Irish distribution rights for such brands as Corona lager, Remy Martin brandy, Boru Irish Vodka and Kilbeggan whiskey.

Galvin’s – which reportedly generated sales of around €80m last year – went into voluntary examinership in late September (KPMG accountant, Barry Donohoe, being appointed examiner) after telling the High Court it had suffered financially as a result of a €6m excise fraud.

It is unclear whether or not all of Galvin’s existing workforce would remain under the potential new ownership, but if successful with a rescue deal, Barry & Fitzwilliam would keep the Carry Out brand as is and amalgamate the rest of the business under its name.

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