* Deal values Averna, Braulio maker at 104 mln euros
* Deal to boost its European business - CEO
* Campari has a further 250 mln euros to invest in 2014 (Recasts lead, adds CEO quotes, detail)
By Isla Binnie and Maria Pia Quaglia
MILAN, April 15 (Reuters) - Italian drinks maker Campari said on Tuesday it was buying a Sicilian spirits company, had 250 million euros ($346 million) to invest in further deals this year and planned to spend even more on acquisitions in 2015.
The deal to buy Fratelli Averna, which produces the bitters Averna and Braulio and makes over a third of revenue from exports, values it at 103.75 million euros ($143 million).
While other Italian firms have become targets for foreign buyers, Campari has hit the acquisition trail to broaden its stable of drinks such as whiskeys and liqueurs and lure more customers outside its traditional European markets.
Just over a month ago it said it would buy Canada’s Forty Creek Distillery.
Campari Chief Executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz told Reuters the Averna deal “strengthens our critical mass in Germanic markets quite a bit”. He said three quarters of all exports of the Averna brand go to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
“In the long term we also expect America, particularly the United States and Argentina, to be significant contributors,” he said. About 70 percent of Italian liqueurs and bitters are sold abroad, mainly in Argentina, Germany, Brazil, the United States and Brazil.
Fratelli Averna made earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of around 11.2 million euros in 2013 and this should rise to around 15 million euros in the year starting in June 2015, Kunze-Concewitz said.
Italian broker Equita said in a morning note that the price Campari paid for Averna seemed appropriate.
Kunze-Concewitz said Campari had another 250 million euros for acquisitions in 2014.
“Obviously when next year starts, that resets at a higher number,” he said.
But he said the maker of the bitter red aperitif would not be rushing to make more acquisitions immediately.
“We need to first digest these before we move on to anything else,” Kunze-Concewitz said.
Kunze-Concewitz said Campari was not looking at entering the Indian market on the heels of the world’s largest spirit maker Diageo, which relaunched a bid to increase its stake in United Spirits Ltd. on Tuesday.
“At the moment we don’t believe the conditions are there for us. There are significant import tariffs for international brands and it’s a very complex environment in which to do business from a regulatory standpoint.” he said.
$1 = 0.7238 Euros Reporting by Isla Binnie and Maria Pia Quaglia; writing by Isla Binnie; editing by Tom Pfeiffer