Vijay Mallya, known as India’s Richard Branson, is the owner of United Spirits which, in 2007, bought Whyte and Mackay, the longstanding Scottish whisky distiller, for just under £600 million. The acquisition included the separate single malt brands of isle of Jura and Dalmore.
Mallya’s corporate structure on the drinks side of his business empire, has United Breweries Group as the parent company whose subsidiary United Spirits wholly owns Whyte and Mackay and the two single malt brands.
The trouble for Mallya is the performance of his Kingfisher Airlines, which is said to be close to collapse with debts of around £630 million.
While United Spirits is, through United Breweries Group, independent of Kingfisher and would not be directly brought down by any collapse there, it is not impossible that Mallya may need to raise cash by selling some of the brands within United Breweries. This could be Whyte and Mackay or, in Argyll’s sphere of interest, Isle of Jura malt whisky.
Concern is less over the brand’s future than over another period of adjustment to a new owner.