POLAND: Vodka auction hots up as Bols pulls out
Unicom Bols has withdrawn its tender for majority control of Poland's Polmos Zielona Gora over concerns that the unregulated industry is still too risky, a Bols spokesman told just-drinks.com.
He confirmed that the issues surrounding the true ownership of the Polish vodka export rights, high excise taxes and the overall slowdown of the Polish market were the main reasons for its withdrawal.
Agros Holdings, Pernod Ricard's Polish subsidiary, has the international export rights for the most valuable vodka brands such as Wyborowa and Zubrowka, though pending legal challenges from the government could change this situation in the coming months.
Bols entered its tender in February with the German companies Underberg-Adamba and Eckes, plus Sweden's Vin & Sprit (V&S) for 51% stake in Polmos Zielona Gora. It is regarded as one of the most desirable distilleries as it is located high in the forests where the bison grass grows.
Overall the Polish Polmos auctions are beginning to hot up. The Treasury also announced this week that three potential investors interested in buying 51% of Polmos Lancut had been shortlisted.
A Treasury press officer told Poland's Interfax business newswire that the three investors "will now be able to carry out a due diligence of the company and will have until April 30 to place final offers." The names of the three potential bidders were not disclosed.
Polmos Lancut, which produces Krolewska (with its distinctive stained-glass bottle effect) and Polonaise vodkas and other various bison grass brands, has annual sales of 25m litres of 100% alcohol, according to the report.
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