US/RUSSIA: Central European Distribution Corp invites Russian Standard offer
CEDC has suggested Russian Standard should make a move for control of the company
Central European Distribution Corp has called on its biggest shareholder, Russian Standard, to bid for the debt-laden group or make a “definitive” offer to help it tackle its financial problems.
In a letter to shareholder Mark Kaufman, released by CEDC today (22 November), the company's special committee wrote: “If Russian Standard wants total control of CEDC to the exclusion of other stakeholders, Russian Standard should make offer to buy the company or step up with a definitive and binding offer to help the company through its financing issues.”
Russian Standard's founder, Roustam Tariko, who is CEDC's chairman and interim president, has been at loggerheads with the company's other executives over how it is being run. In a letter last week, Tariko claimed that company executives were being investigated for corruption, an accusation that CEDC's committee was forced to deny.
Meanwhile, in its latest letter to Kaufman, the group's second biggest shareholder, CEDC said it rejecting his request to join its board.
“You were an accomplished executive and owner of the Whitehall spirits business in Russia that was sold to CEDC – that does not necessarily make you an ideal candidate to be an independent director of CEDC at this time," the letter said.
Kaufman had written letters on 14 and 19 November raising a variety of issues – including the group's performance and the possible involvement of Russian Standard.
“You are rightly concerned about CEDC’s share price performance and the lack of progress in securing the Russian Standard funding commitments. We share your concern and your frustration,” the CEDC response stated.
“Indeed, we ask you to help us to either bring Russian Standard back to the table or support CEDC as it considers its alternatives.”
On the issue of finding a permanent CEO and CFO for CEDC, the committee said: “You profess to be concerned about CEDC and the search for a permanent CEO and a permanent CFO – so are we.
"However, despite our efforts, the reality is that our interim president, for all his promises about his extensive network of contacts, has not put forward a single candidate from outside the company.
"We would welcome your recommendations in the search process, and we would encourage you to invite Russian Standard to do the same.”
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