Asconi Corporation, one of the largest Eastern European producers of wines and spirits, announced yesterday that it has signed contracts to ship an additional 10 million bottles of wines to the Russian Federation within one year starting October 2003.

The deal was made with Grand Vin, Ltd. and Bonus Bord O.O.O., both subsidiaries of Wine International Project, Ltd.

Constantin Jitaru, president and CEO of Asconi, said: "This contract is expected to bring additional revenues of US$2m and a boost of US$200,000 to the bottom line in 2003 as well as a respective US$8m and US$800,000 in 2004."

Asconi currently controls over 10% of the market for Moldovan wines imported into Russia.

Jitaru said: "Russia is an especially important market for Asconi's wine products. The market is ripe for high-quality yet value-priced products like those which Asconi offers. Over 90% of our production goes to the Russian market and we maintain our position as the largest importer of Moldovan wines into Russia. Wine is still a comparatively small segment of the alcoholic beverages consumed in Russia, accounting for 13-15% of total consumption. The rate of growth, though, has been significant, making wine one of the fastest growing segments in the industry."

The company said that before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was consuming 17 liters of wine per capita comparing with 6 liters at this time. However, consumption of wines is increasing at a rate of 10 - 15% per year.