Embattled Belvédère is to sell its subsidiary Marie Brizard before the end of 2011 as part of a debt reduction programme, according to a labour union source at the French drinks group.

The CFDT union says it was informed at a works council meeting held earlier this week that Belvédère has decided to relinquish Marie Brizard, its wine-making activities, grouped around Moncigale. An asking price has reportedly been set at EUR300m (US$437m). 

A Belvédère spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the union's claims.

Earlier this year, Belvédère's president and CEO, Jacques Rouvroy, indicated that he expected to keep Marie Brizard, which it acquired from UK-based Duke Street Capital in 2006 for an estimated EUR375m.

Marie Brizard employs around 650 staff, Moncigale accounting for 250 posts.

A safeguard plan for Belvédère, which remains under bankruptcy protection under French law, will be examined by a commercial court in Dijon on 14 September.