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UNITED DISTILLERS REORGANIZES ITS NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS

 UNITED DISTILLERS REORGANIZES ITS NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS
 STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- United Distillers, the world's leading spirits company, today announced a reorganization of its North American operations as part of its ongoing strategy to further strengthen the performance of its brands in the U.S.A.
 This follows a four-year period of expansion through the formation of a major joint venture company, two acquisitions and a significant investment in production facilities.
 In a series of steps over the next nine months, the company will realign its entire range of brands marketed in the U.S.A. into two distinct and complementary portfolios -- premium imported brands and popular priced brands. Each portfolio will be managed by its own specialized marketing and sales company supported by a common finance and administration function.
 This replaces the current structure in which the company's brands are marketed by three separate organizations:
 Glenmore Distilleries (Louisville, Ky.), merged with United Distillers in July 1991 and markets Scoresby and Inver House Scotch and a range of bourbons, Canadian whiskeys, gin, vodka and other products. Following the merger, United Distillers became the No. 2 spirits company in the United States.
 Schenley Industries Inc. (Dallas), a wholly owned subsidiary of United Distillers acquired in 1987, markets Dewar's, a range of deluxe and single malt Scotch whiskies, Gordons Gin and Vodka, bourbons, Canadian whiskeys and other spirits products.
 Schieffelin & Somerset (New York), a 50/50 joint venture formed in 1987 with LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) markets Johnnie Walker Red and Black Label Scotch, Tanqueray Gin and Tanqueray Sterling Vodka.
 Under the new structure, United Distillers will create a new operation, United Distillers Glenmore, based in Stamford, combining the marketing and sales activities of the existing Glenmore and Schenley operations. This will result in the closure of Schenley in Dallas and the Glenmore sales, marketing and related finance functions currently in Louisville.
 United Distillers Glenmore will handle United Distillers' popular priced brands which, with annual sales of 14 million cases, will represent one of the strongest, most broadly based portfolios in the U.S. market.
 Dewar's, Pinch and the single malt Scotch whiskies currently handled by Schenley will be assigned to Schieffelin & Somerset who will take responsibility for United Distillers' premium brand portfolio. This represents annual sales of 4 million cases of United Distillers products which will be sold alongside LVMH brands such as Hennessy cognac, Moet et Chandon champagne and other premium wine and spirit products.
 The finance and administration functions related to sales and marketing in Schenley, Glenmore and at United Distillers' North American headquarters in Stamford, will be closed and a new central finance and administration unit managed by United Distillers will be established at Stamford. The new unit will also provide financial and administration services to Schieffelin & Somerset on a contract basis.
 Meanwhile, all of the company's North American production facilities will be grouped within a new management organization, headquartered in Louisville where bourbon production capacity is being increased through a $20 million investment in production facilities to meet growing demand in Asia Pacific and European markets. Glenmore's existing production operation in Louisville will continue within the new structure.
 Phil Parnell, chief executive officer of United Distillers North America, said, "This reorganization, which further strengthens our successful relationship with LVMH, provides a structure that will allow us to concentrate expertise and resources appropriate to the two different portfolios. This will ensure that we maximize the opportunities that exist for all our brands in the U.S. during the 1990's.
 These organizational changes will bring about significant improvements in the efficiency of our U.S. operations, allowing us to continue to invest in support for our brands. Even with the combined pressures of changing consumption patterns and recessionary economic trends, our profits in North America have grown steadily. We intend this growth to continue."
 United Distillers is the spirits company of Guinness PLC. The reorganization is subject to legal and fiscal arrangements still to be completed.
 -0- 2/3/92
 /CONTACT: Peter Baillie or Paul Collingwood of United Distillers North America, 203-359-7464 or 203-359-7467/ CO: United Distillers; Guinness PLC ST: Connecticut IN: FOD SU: RCN


SM-OS -- NY043 -- 6134 02/03/92 11:23 EST
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Date:Feb 3, 1992
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