Central European Distribution Corporation has "moved forward" with its acquisition of various production and distribution assets related to the Parliament vodka brand in the Russian market and abroad.

CEDC said today (21 December) that, since signing a Letter of Intent in July, it has worked closely with Parliament management with a view to sign and closing the transaction during the first quarter of 2008.

The transaction will be subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation, CEDC said.

Company president and CEO William Carey said: "We are extremely pleased to see the continued development of the Parliament business and look forward to working closely with its management team, following closing in 2008. Parliament has continued to invest in strengthening its national sales force which is now over 400 employees, which we believe will provide a strong platform for development of new and imported brands."

Parliament Group vice president and CEO Sergey Kupriyanov added: "Within the context of the strong Russian economy and the continued premiumisation of the Russia vodka market, the Parliament shareholders are pleased with the progress the company has made in 2007, as well as with the proposed partnership with CEDC.

"We are confident that - given the progress towards signing and closing of the transaction - CEDC is the right partner to further support the Parliament brand's growth in Russia and abroad."

CEDC is the largest vodka producer in Poland and produces the Absolwent, Zubrowka, Bols and Soplica brands, among others. The company also produces and distributes Royal Vodka, the top selling vodka in Hungary.