SWEDEN: Absolut could be up for sale by end of April
The Swedish Parliament may after Easter decide to sell its former distilling monopoly Vin & Sprit (V&S), the owner of Absolut Vodka, according to Swedish parliamentary sources.
As predicted in yesterday's just-drinks.com editorial, parliamentary insiders were reported in the news service Foodwire today, as confirming that a proposal by a Liberal backbencher to sell the business will take place sometime after April 16.
The present government is strongly against any sell-off. However, the proposal would need only a single vote majority to succeed, and with the way the balance of power stands in the Swedish Parliament, there is a strong possibility that the government could be over-ruled.
Foodwire reported that the decision rested on one of the smallest parliamentary parties, which is still to make up its mind on which side of the fence it stands. However, if it was to vote for a sale its parliamentary presence would be enough to provide the opposition with the majority needed.
The sale of V&S could raise as much as $4.7bn for the state coffers, about 90 times the state's average yearly earnings from the company. But the government argues that V&S steadily contributes hundreds of millions of SEK each year
But now would be the right time for any sale as the price is inflated by the fact that the distribution rights to the Absolut would be included in any deal, following the sale of Seagram.
Any owner of Absolut, would be able to control distribution themselves or sell on the rights, thereby recouping losses from the acquisition.
To read the full just-drinks.com editorial on the future of Absolut click here
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