FRANCE: Belvédère eyes further asset shedding to reduce debt
Belvédère is poised to sell non-strategic assets totalling more than EUR100m (US$147.8m) this year in a bid to reduce debt levels.
The French wine and spirits group sold the Pulco brand of fruit concentrates and Sirop Sport cordial line to Orangina Group for EUR178m in September, having become heavily indebted following the take over Marie Brizard.
Up for sale now is a 7ha site in the centre of Krakow, Poland, which Belvédère acquired in 2002 when it purchased the Polmos Krakow vodka distillery.
"Production is now focused at a plant on the outskirts of Krakow," a company spokesman told just-drinks yesterday (10 January. "The site could fetch around EUR70m."
Belvédère is also relinquishing its vinegar interests in the US. Combined with the Krakow land sale, this could yield in excess of EUR100m.
"We're looking to complete the sale of these assets in the first half of 2008 and further sell-offs could follow," he added, declining to comment specifically on the assets which could be targeted.
In the first nine months of 2007, Belvédère reported a loss of EUR2.5m but the spokesman said this was largely due to interest charges on debts which are likely to total around EUR40m for the year as a whole. "The priority is to cut these charges considerably in the near future."
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