Workers at Polmos Bialystok have voiced concerns about the pending takeover by Sobieski Dystrybucja. Sobieski, a unit of French company Belvedere, has been selected for exclusive bargaining rights for the purchase of a 61% stake in the vodka company.

In a letter to the Treasury Minister, employees cite the fact that Sobieski already owns competing brands as a major disadvantage as it would, in their view, lead to "brand cannibalism."

The workers also suggest to the Treasury Minister that Sobieski has gained large market share in Poland purely by selling cheap products "at dumping prices." They are concerned that Sobieski does not need their company, but just needs their brands.

Bialystok CEO Jan Malachowski described the opinions in the letter as "more or less balanced."

Sobieski has moved to play down the worries. Speaking to PAP, the company's vice-president, Waldemar Rudnik, said: "The only thing we can do is to ask the Treasury . . . to allow us to meet Polmos Bialystok's employees." Rudnik also said that the company is not considering taking away Bialystok's brands, and might even transfer some of its own brands to it.

Sobieski has until Friday to complete its negotiations with the Treasury.