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The Saccone & Speed (Gibraltar) Group of Companies can trace its roots to 1839, when James Speed started trading in Gibraltar as a wine merchant. Nearly a decade later, by 1850 Jerome Saccone had also established his own wines and spirits business. They competed with each other for the remainder of the century, and by 1908 the two rivals merged and incorporated in England as Jerome Saccone & James Speed & Co. Limited. In 1912 they changed the company name to Saccone & Speed Limited and when the Gibraltar Companies Ordinance permitted, they also incorporated Saccone & Speed Limited in Gibraltar in 1949.
From the very earliest days, the company's main commercial activities were the supply of beer, wines, spirits and tobacco principally to the Royal Navy and the large contingent of military personnel based on the Rock. The relationship with the Royal Navy led the company to open branches at naval ports and major Royal Naval bases in the Mediterranean as well as branches in Africa & the Far East. Saccone & Speed became a major supplier to the Diplomatic Corps in various countries, a role it played until the 1970's.
In the 1930's, Saccone & Speed purchased M Baglietto Limited, a wines and spirits business who were also soft drink bottlers, which set off the company's soft drinks business.
As part of its ambitious growth programme, Saccone & Speed acquired Hankey Bannister whisky in 1932, including its offices in the West End of London. This marked the first foothold that Saccone & Speed had on the United Kingdom domestic market. In 1962 Saccone & Speed was sold to Courage Limited, which had been a minority shareholder in the Company. The now established and marketable Saccone & Speed name was used by Courage as its Wines and Spirits division within the United Kingdom. The Saccone & Speed name continued to be used internationally, including the birthplace of the operation in Gibraltar.
The 1980's was a decade of mergers and acquisitions and between 1984 and 1987 Courage, which was by then a member of the Imperial Group, was taken over by the Hanson Trust and the sold onto to Elders in 1986 and Elders then sold Saccone & Speed to Grand Metropolitan. In 1987 Grand Metropolitan agreed a management buy-out for Saccone & Speed, which was renamed as Saccone & Speed (Gibraltar) Limited. Due to the peculiarities of Gibraltar law, the MBO was structured via another Group company, Lawn & Alder Limited, which trades as Saccone & Speed (Gibraltar) Limited.