The acting head of Altia has said the company needs owners that are willing to invest after the Finnish Government drew up plans for the state firm's sale.

Speaking to just-drinks today (20 May), Hannu Tuominen said extra money is vital for the wine and spirits firm to remain competitive in the Nordic and Baltic countries where it operates. He said the government has "taken a stance not to add additional funds" for the company over the past few years. 

However, asked if Altia would welcome a sale into private hands, Tuominen said: “It's too early to say. Let's see what happens. Our task is to make sure that the company operates and is as active as possible, and that is what we are trying to ensure.”

Finland's ruling coalition today announced plans to sell off Altia to finance spending and reduce borrowing. Reuters reported that the plan is part of a government move to sell EUR1.9bn (US$2.6m) worth of its holdings over two years.

Tuominen, who is in control of Altia until incoming CEO Pekka Tennilä takes over next month, confirmed that debate has surround Altia's sale for “quite some time” but said today's move has no bearing on the company's short-term operations.

“We haven't been given a schedule or any information about any ongoing process,” he said. “The next step is that the government takes it up with the parliament.”

Altia's wine and spirits brands include Blossa, Chill Out, Explorer, Grönstedts, Jaloviina, Koskenkorva, O.P. Anderson, Renault, Xanté and Skåne Akvavit.