Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 14:45 UK

Distiller announces 45m revamp

Glenmorangie distillery worker
Money is to be invested in Glenmorangie's distillery in Tain

Whisky giant Glenmorangie is to relocate its headquarters to Edinburgh and upgrade distilleries at Tain and on Islay as part of a 45m plan.

Its present HQ at Broxburn, West Lothian, is to be sold to Diageo.

The revamp will also see the sale of its Glen Moray distillery at Elgin as a going concern.

Consultation with the company's 420 employees has started. Job losses are anticipated, but most are expected to go through retirements.

The company said it would focus on building its premium single malt Scotch whisky brands, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, in response to growing demand.

I was surprised to hear that Glenmorangie are to sell off the popular Glen Moray brand
Richard Lochhead
Moray MSP

It is planning to withdraw from the bottling and sale of blended Scotch whisky.

Chief executive Paul Neep said the plan represented "significant capital investment".

He added: "We believe that these proposals will deliver long-term additional growth for both the company and also, importantly, for the local and wider Scottish economies."

Sites for the new headquarters and bottling plant have still to be revealed.

No job loses are expected among the 17-strong workforce at Glen Moray because Glenmorangie said the distillery would be sold as a going concern.

The business plans include a multi-million pound investment in Tain, Ross-shire.

Under the proposals, its distilling capacity will be increased, new whisky cask warehouses built and the visitor centre restyled.

The single malt Glenmorangie was first created at Tain in 1843.

French drinks firm Moet Hennessy bought Glenmorangie from the Macdonald family in 2004 for about 300m
There are 14 staff employed at Ardbeg, 17 at Glen Moray and 23 at Tain, with the rest of the 420 workers based at Broxburn
Diageo, which is taking over the 33-acre Broxburn site, owns brands such as Bells and Benmore
The process of change will be phased over two years.

Further development is also planned at the company's Ardbeg distillery on Islay.

The distillery and visitor centre will be further upgraded and new cask warehousing constructed.

Moray's Nationalist MP and MSP were hopeful of the Elgin operation securing a new owner.

Richard Lochhead MSP said: "I was surprised to hear that Glenmorangie are to sell off the popular Glen Moray brand.

"The Elgin-based Glen Moray distillery is an important local business providing good employment and an important tourist attraction on the Whisky Trail."

MP Angus Robertson said: "The whisky sector is extremely buoyant at the present time and, indeed, for the foreseeable future, with massive investment across Moray and Scotland.

"This vibrancy in the industry should make the future of Glen Moray secure but until the details are resolved of the sale of this important brand there will understandably be some concern for local employees."

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