NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Bacardi Ltd. will close its rum distillery in the Bahamas and transfer manufacturing operations to facilities elsewhere in the Americas, the company says.
The Nassau plant, which employs 114 people, will close by April 2009. Most of its operations will be absorbed by the company's main rum production site in Catano, Puerto Rico, near the capital of the U.S. Caribbean territory, the company said in a statement.
The Bermuda-based company established a presence in the Bahamas in 1965 in part to avoid large duties on shipments from Puerto Rico to Europe, but it said changes in trade agreements and competition compelled them to consolidate.
''The change in business conditions and economies of scale were significant factors in the decision to prepare to cease operations here in Nassau,'' said Felix Mateo, director of the closing Bahamas facility. ''It is very difficult to make a decision like this, but it is the right decision for the company.''
The Nassau distillery manufactures light and dark Bacardi rums that are shipped in bulk to Europe, as well as some bottles distributed for local sale. The company said it has not decided on the future use of the property.
Privately held Bacardi, which also has manufacturing facilities in Florida and Mexico, includes such brands as Bacardi rum, Grey Goose vodka and Dewar's scotch whisky.