Bibendum Wine has merged with drinks importer the PLB Group to create a new company called the Bibendum PLB Group.
The Group structure will see Bibendum and PLB focus on their core areas of expertise. Both businesses will continue to trade as separate companies, with Bibendum concentrating exclusively on serving the on-trade business and PLB doing the same in the off-trade.
It was also announced that Walker and Wodehouse Wines has joined the group. Walker and Wodehouse, which has a history stretching back to 1794 and which has held a Royal Warrant since 1955, will focus on supplying independent merchants and regional wholesalers.
The Bibendum PLB Group will be made up of five trading companies in total. Existing Bibendum trading arms the Wondering Wine Company (consumer events) and Instil Drinks Company (spirits and beer band agency), which will integrate PLB's rapidly expanding beer division, complete the new group's line-up.
Jeffrey Fredericks, founder and chairman of PLB, said: "PLB will continue to run as an individual trading company but, as part of the Bibendum PLB Group, the vision of being able to offer the number one service to all areas of the UK trade will be realised. As a family business, it was very important to us that we found the right partner and we have found that with Bibendum. The two companies now join to become the most powerful independent drinks company in the UK and a unique route to market for any supplier."
Michael Saunders, chief executive of the Bibendum PLB Group, said: "Consolidation has been a widely discussed topic in the industry for several years as companies strive to grow in a low margin and complex market. By uniting the strengths of Bibendum with the strengths of PLB, and maximising the expertise within each trading company, our new group will be uniquely placed to offer customers the best possible service."