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High-spirited business

booze

INDIA’s United Spirits Ltd – the world’s second-largest spirits distiller – has selected Cambodia as a target market.

USL said yesterday its level of commitment in the Kingdom represented its “first significant step outside the Indian subcontinent”, and that the firm hadstarted importing and distributing spirits through trading company Vimpex Ltd. Vimpex aims for US$1 million in sales by the end of the year, Managing Director Naresh Kumar Dinodiya said yesterday.

“We will be covering the whole nation, and we don’t have any particular segment, but we’ll be doing whisky, vodka, wine, rum and gin also. And maybe we’ll add beer later on,” he said.

USL aims to compete with established market players such as Attwood Import Export through a combination of competitive pricing and an effective marketing strategy.

“Cambodia is the most important foray for us ... where we’ll be making significant investments in marketing and promotions,” USL marketing vice president Debashish Shyam said.

USL is aconglomerate of seven companies owned by Indian firm UB Group. It boasts 145 brands – 20 of which it says sell over a million cases a year
and presently exports to 37 countries.

UB chief operating officer Kaushik Chartterji said the company sees its Cambodian operations as a stepping-off point to expansion throughout the region.

Debashish Shyam said that the Kingdom’s young population, open attitude to foreign investors and relaxed rules on marketing made it stand out from the other options.

Attwood estimates it currently captures about 70 percent of the spirits distribution market. Financial manager Kim Phou estimated sales for its two major spirits, Johnnie Walker and Hennessy, equalled about $6 million a year.

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