LUXEMBOURG: SPI Group "considering" bid for CEDC

By | 5 March 2013

SPI Group has already held talks about Central European Distribution Corp

SPI Group has already held talks about Central European Distribution Corp

The owner of the Stolichnaya vodka brand, SPI Group, has confirmed that it is considering make a move for embattled spirits producer Central European Distribution Corporation.

The Luxembourg-based, Russia-originated company, which owns two sets of notes that were launched by CEDC, said earlier today (5 March) that it has held talks with”a few strong financial players” in Russia over a move for the US-based company. Last week, CEDC offered stock to some of its note-holders, as the company is not in a position to cover its debt.

"We are carefully observing the situation around CEDC,” said SPI CEO Val Mendeleev. “We have already begun preliminary discussions with a few strong financial players in Russia who could be interested in considering the CEDC business together with us.

“While our evaluation is ongoing, we are confident in our ability to pursue potential alternatives with respect to CEDC, if we decide to do so."

SPI Group would not comment further on today's statement.

In launching the stock offering last week, CEDC warned that it would table a bankruptcy filing in the US if the move was not accepted by note-holders. The filing would "effectuate the restructuring through a fall-back, pre-packaged Plan of Reorganisation", the firm said.

CEDC, which operates primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, has been struggling with debt, resulting in the firm handing operational control to leading shareholder and Russian Standard owner Roustam Tariko last month, in return for US$65m.

Expert analysis

Global market review of vodka – forecasts to 2015

The global vodka market had been growing strongly between 2004 and 2008, adding about 30m cases. However, the global recession hit the category hard and sales declined sharply in 2009. Preliminary indications are that the market recovered in most markets in 2010, particularly the large Russian market. With over 40 data tables providing total consumption volume for all major markets and brands, this latest edition of our popular global market review of vodka provides an excellent overview of the historic, present and future market for the sector.

Sectors: Mergers & acquisitions, Spirits

Companies: CEDC, Stolichnaya

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