SWEDEN: V&S admits defeat in Systembolaget row
V&S has failed in its last legal attempt to overturn a decision from Swedish alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget to de-list wines handled by the company.
Sweden's Supreme Court has blocked an application from V&S for a temporary injunction against the action, the company said today (14 March).
Systembolaget's move to de-list some 17 wines handled by V&S went live on 1 March, although the owners of the affected wines have moved to find alternative distribution.
Despite failing to win a temporary injunction, V&S is pursuing financial damages through an arbitration process, a course of action that could take up to a year, a company spokesman told just-drinks.
The retailer's action follows charges that were brought against nine current and former V&S employees for bribing Systembolaget workers between 2001 and 2003 in return for improving the profile of their products in stores.
V&S claims Systembolaget's decision stems from the retailer's move to draw up new contracts with suppliers in 2004.
Under these contracts, the spokesman said, Systembolaget reserves the right to withdraw products from sale if a supplier breaches its agreement with the retailer. Violations include attempting to bribe Systembolaget employees.
The spokesman insisted that V&S had not signed the 2004 contracts and said Systembolaget should not have come to its decision before the trial of the current and former V&S employees is complete.
The spokesman declined to put a value on how much revenue V&S stands to lose from Sytembolaget's action and the loss of distribution contracts.
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