FRANCE: Belvedere gets debt restructure okay, plans Danzka sell-off
Bevedere has sold off the Danzka vodka brand as part of its battle with high debt levels
Belvedere has been granted court approval for its debt restructuring plan, while the French spirits group has also lined up the sale of its Danzka vodka brand.
The Dijon commercial court has approved the company's proposal this week, which will see creditors take 87% of its capital. Current shareholders, which include actor Bruce Willis, will subsequently see their stakes reduced to a pro rata share of the remaining 13%.
As a result of the move, private equity asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management becomes Belvedere's premier shareholder with a 38% holding. Oaktree, which also owns the central and Eastern European spirits producer, Stock Spirits, will only have 19.9% voting rights, however.
The court underlined that the plan does not entail staff redundancies.
In a separate judgement, the court has approved the sale of its Danzka vodka brand. Belvedere bought the Danish brand from Sweden's V&S Group in 2006 for an undislcosed sum.
Belvedere has been under judicial administration for a year, as it has struggled with debts estimated at EUR672m. The majority of the firm's debt has stemmed from its acquisition of the owner of the Marie Brizard liqueurs brand, Marie Brizard & Roger International, in 2006.
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