Major Dominican brands pass to foreign control

Unknown to many people, several Dominican companies recognized as Marca País that had been 100% locally owned have sold part of their shares to foreign investors in order to expand their business.

Companies that offer to the market, both nationally and abroad, products that evoke the Dominican identity have had international owners for years. Such is the case of Brugal and Barceló rums, the Dominican National Brewery, Helados Bon, among other companies.

According to newspaper archives consulted for this work, this decision was motivated by the fact that although these brands, each in its own productive activity, are the most prestigious in the country, they had a limited market and little participation abroad.

One of the iconic Dominican companies that has sold an important part of its shares to international businessmen is Ron Brugal. The history of this company began in 1888 when it was founded by Andrés Brugal Monater.

As time went by, Brugal transformed itself, multiplying its distillation, aging and production capacities, but maintaining the tradition that characterizes it.

While the company continued to consolidate its position among the Dominican people, in 2008 the Spanish liquor company Edrington acquired 83% of Brugal’s shares for US$390 million, which led to the expansion of this brand in international markets, especially in Spain, where 43% of Dominican rum exports are consumed in its different brands.

Ron Brugal is currently present in some 50 countries and in the world’s main destinations, including South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Turkey, Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, Albania, Italy, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Canada, the Caribbean, Spain and the United States.

This company generates close to 1,000 direct jobs, invests more than US$13 million each year in molasses alone, and its share of the local market is almost 70%.

Although the creator of Ron Barceló was Julián Barceló, a young 25-year-old Spaniard who arrived in Santo Domingo in 1927, the brand became synonymous with Dominican rum from its inception in 1929, but it was not until 1950 that the company began to be widely accepted in the local market.

Julián and his brother Andrés came from a Mallorcan family with a long agricultural tradition. They kept the illusion of exploiting agribusiness, a favorable activity in the country that had welcomed them.

In 2002, the company separated from international operations, giving way to a group of Dominican-Spanish businessmen, the Dominican part formed by the Barceló Díaz family and the García family, thus creating a new company called Añejos Barceló (today Ron Barceló).

Pelayo de la Mata, president of Grupo Varma, the company dedicated to the distribution of spirits in Spain and owner of the Dominican Barceló rum, assured an international media that “buying the Dominican rum company was a great success”.

In 2019, Barceló consolidated its presence in more than 80 countries around the world. In 2020, Ron Barceló became the first rum in the world to be certified Carbon Neutral. Currently, the company.

Cervecería Nacional sold 51% of its shares.
One of the most recognized brands of the Dominican Republic in the world is Presidente beer, which was created by Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (CND), which in 1935 bought technology equipment from the American Beer Company to launch the product under the slogan “Even if you pay more and double, this beer is better, plus it is national”.

In April 2012, The Wall Street Journal Americas, in its digital edition, reported on the negotiations for the sale of the brewery.

The company will include the production and commercialization of beers, malts and soft drinks in the Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent, Antigua and Dominica, as well as exports to 16 other Caribbean countries, the United States and Europe.

In the end, the sale resulted in 51% of the shares to Ambev Brasil for US$1,237 million. The deal involved two aspects: the sale of 41.76% of CND’s shares for US$1 billion in cash and AmBev Brasil acquired an additional 9.3% interest in CND, which was owned by Heineken N.V. (Heineken), for US$237 million.

In 2008 the Spanish liquor company Edrington acquired an 83% stake in Brugal for US$390 million,
In 1994, Barceló, seeking to expand its brand, granted Spanish businessmen the right to export the brand’s rums.
In April 2012, the US business daily The Wall Street Journal Americas reported the negotiations for the sale of the brewery.

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