RUSSIA: Nemiroff returns to Russia after lockout
Nemiroff has restarted vodka shipments to Russia after a shareholder revolt saw the distiller locked out of its own headquarters in the country, but the dispute is ongoing.
Until last week, Nemiroff had not shipped its namesake vodka to Russia since October last year. The distiller is now playing catch-up after regaining access to its headquarters in Moscow, it said in a statement released to just-drinks today (2 March).
A dispute between Nemiroff's owners escalated last August when a group of shareholders seized control of the firm's Russian headquarters, Nemiroff Trade House. The rebel shareholders dismissed Nemiroff's general director in Russia, Grigory Savinov, the firm said today.
Subsequently, the company's Ukraine-based shareholder, Alexander Glus, cut supplies of the firm's vodka to Russia, claiming that its Russian unit had ceased to pay for orders, the group said. Glus owns around 25% of Nemiroff Holding and is in a long-running legal dispute with other shareholders.
Last month, Glus obtained a court order to reinstate Savinov at Nemiroff Trade House. On 24 February, the firm restarted vodka shipments to Russia.
However, the firm said that it faces immediate staffing issues in Russia. "Most of the employees of the company are dismissed or sent to a forced vacation," said Savinov. "In the months of downtime, Nemiroff’s drinks have actually disappeared from the shelves of trade."
In addition, the firm said that it faces a steep tax bill in Russia. Nemiroff said that it has stepped up production in Ukraine to help its Russian business to recover.
Despite this, the company's shareholder dispute is ongoing, with lawsuits filed in Russia, Cyprus and Ukraine, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency, RAPSI. A Nemiroff spokesperson declined to comment further on the dispute.
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