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Hard liquor bolsters family-controlled drinks business

Campari, the famous Italian drink, may be celebrating its 150th birthday this year, but it is an American bourbon less than half its age that is driving sales at family-controlled Davide Campari-Milano.

The Italy-based business purchased the Wild Turkey brand, established in 1940, from fellow family-controlled manufacturer Pernod Ricard last year for €433 million.

According to results for H1 2010, group sales were up 16.7% to €515.7 million. Net profit rose 13.6% to €69.3 million.

Sales in the Americas, which now account for 34.1% of the group's total sales and which are driven by Wild Turkey sales, increased 46.1% on the same period last year. By contrast, total sales in Italy increased by just 2.2%, while the rest of Europe increased by 11.9%.

Non-family CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz told Bloomberg: "There's still a lot of growth to be had in developed markets – not only Europe, but the US."

The company's share price is up 7.6% in the last six months, while 2009 revenues were up 7% to €1 billion.

The Garavoglia family purchased the business from the founding Campari family in the 1970s and today controls 51% of the group. Luca Garavoglia was confirmed as chairman for the 2010-2012 period earlier this year.

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