William Grant and Sons

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William Grant & Sons Ltd. is an independent, family-owned Scottish company which distils Scotch whisky and other selected categories of spirits. It was founded in 1886 by William Grant, and is now run by the descendants of the founder. It is the largest of the handful of Scotch whisky distillers remaining in family ownership. "William Grant & Sons" is often abbreviated to "W. Grant & Sons" or just "Grant's", after their leading blended whisky of the same name.

The company is the 3rd largest producer of Scotch whisky (10.4% market share) after Diageo (34.4%), and Pernod Ricard. The company's central headquarters are in Strathclyde Business Park, North Lanarkshire. Sales and marketing headquarters are in Richmond, London. The company is a member of the Scotch Whisky Association. 2006 saw turnover in excess of £350m and a pre-tax profit of just over £75m. Based on the multiple when Glenmorangie was bought by Moët Hennessy two years ago, William Grant could be valued at £1.5bn, which would put it firmly in the FTSE-250. [1]

Family control

Handing the reins of the family business to an outsider proved a costly move for William Grant & Sons, which makes Glenfiddich, the world's best-selling single-malt whisky. Former chief executive Patrick Thomas, a Frenchman who joined in 2000, was paid Pounds 2.8 million in compensation for loss of office, according to the company's latest report and accounts. Thomas was the first outsider to head the family-owned company, established by William Grant in 1886. But even after paying him off, the company, based in Dufftown, Banffshire, managed to show a healthy return.
Profits last year were Pounds 69 million, up from Pounds 61 million the year before, on turnover that rose Pounds 6 million to Pounds 329 million. The dividend remained the same at Pounds 3.5 million and the group's cumulative profit-and-loss account now shows a positive balance of Pounds 375 million. Charles Gordon, the 77-year-old patriarch, returned from his home in Portugal last year to take charge of the company after Thomas left.[2]


  1. Computing.co.uk website, 29 March 2007
  2. Mail on Sunday (London)November 21, 2004 Whisky dynasty's Pounds 2.8mfor outsider BYLINE: MARTIN TOMKINSON SECTION: C1; Pg. 10