Pernod Ricard has completed its EUR5.69bn (US$) acquisition of Absolut vodka owner Vin & Sprit, after receiving the green light from EU competition authorities.

Pernod, which today (24 July) also announced a 2.3% sales rise for the year to the end of June, said the European Commission had cleared the deal on 17 July. As part of the EC's clearance, Pernod will divest the V&S brands Grönstedts Cognac, Red Port, Star Gin, Dry Anis and Lubuski Gin, as well as its Serkova vodka brand. In addition, the distribution agreements for Stolichnaya vodka outside Russia and for Royal Canadian whisky in Sweden will come to an end.

Pernod has also indicated that it intends to pull V&S out of the Maxxium global distribution venture within two years.

The takeover gives Pernod the world's second largest premium vodka brand, Absolut, and enables it compete more strongly against Diageo on international vodka markets, the company said.

Current V&S chief executive Bengt Baron will leave the group at the end of October, while board chairman Anders Narvinger will remain. Pernod has subsequently set up two Sweden-based business units, The Absolut Company and Pernod Ricard Nordic in keeping with its decentralised management structure.