The SPI Group consortium bid for CEDC is expected to launch next week

The SPI Group consortium bid for CEDC is expected to launch next week

SPI Group has joined a consortium to make a move for Central European Distribution Corp (CEDC), just-drinks can exclusively reveal.

The Luxembourg-based firm, which owns the Stolichnaya vodka brand, confirmed to just-drinks today (14 March) that it is partnering with the A1 investment division of Alfa Group and Mark Kauffmann, the former owner of the Whitehall Group in Russia, to table a US$275m offer for CEDC. If accepted, the bid, which is expected to launch next week, would see the three companies take control of CEDC, which agreed earlier this week to hand 85% control to the owner of Russian Standard.

Speaking to just-drinks, the head of SPI Group, Val Mendeleev, said that the new offer would be a $50m increase on A1 and Kauffman's previous offer to CEDC, submitted earlier this month.

“We have met with CEDC board representatives and the company's management,” Mendeleev told just-drinks. “We are considering an improvement of our offer. Most likely, we will increase the offer by a further US$50m. The total cash offer will be in the region of $275m."

He added: “We first need to review certain financial figures. If all is in line with our expectations, the offer will be submitted in the next few days.”

CEDC has been struggling in recent months to raise funds to pay off a set of notes that mature this month. The US-based spirits firm has been working with Roustam Tariko, the owner of the Russian Standard vodka brand, to secure cash in return for stock. In January, CEDC handed Tariko operational control in return for US$65m in funds.

When contacted by just-drinks, a spokesperson for Russian Standard declined to comment on the development.

Last week, SPI announced that it was considering making a bid for CEDC. The company owns two sets of the notes that were launched by CEDC, and said that it was in talks with "a few strong financial players" in Russia over a move for the firm.