Sobieski Dystrybucja appears to have won the race for Polmos Bialystok. The Polish Treasury Ministry has entered into 96-hour exclusive negotiations with the company for the purchase of the majority stake in the vodka distiller.

Sobieski had been vying with Central European Distribution Corporation and Polmos Lublin for the 61% holding.

The 96-hour time frame is the shortest exclusivity period ever granted by the Polish Treasury. Sobieski will need to demonstrate that it can finance a one-time cash payment for the amount it has offered to the Treasury Ministry. If the financial commitment does not meet the Treasury's expectations including timing of the financing by next Friday (3 June), the Treasury will return to the other two investors.

Reports have suggested that all three companies put up improved bids for Bialystok yesterday (25 May).

Central European said yesterday that Sobieski would need to obtain anti-monopoly approval. CEDC said that it believes Bialystok would give Sobieski an approximate 53% market share, "which is well over the 40% threshold set by the Polish anti-monopoly office," the company added.