10 things you should know about... Vin & Sprit

1) V&S Group was formed in 1917 as a national monopoly for the production, import, export and wholesale trade of alcoholic beverages in Sweden. The state-owned distiller was set up in conjunction with Sweden's long-held policy of limiting alcohol consumption.

2) V&S began to make an impact outside the Scandinavian country in 1979, when the first exports of Absolut vodka to the US began.

3) Today, the group has approximately 2,100 employees and sales in 2007 amounted to SEK10.3bn (US$1.73bn).

4) Last year saw V&S's Absolut vodka brand set a new sales record, with volumes climbing by 9% to 96.6m litres.

5) In the US, the biggest single market for Absolut vodka, sales broke the 5m nine-litre case barrier for the first time in 2006.

6) About three-quarters of the group's sales come from spirits, whereas the remaining quarter comes from wine.

7) North America is the group's single biggest market, accounting for 43% of total sales in 2007. The Swedish market accounts for one-sixth (approximately 15%) of sales.

8) In 2007, the group sold 158.4m litres of spirits and 83.7m litres of wine, totalling 242.1m litres of product.

9) Until 1994, the group had the position of a national monopoly for production and distribution, but this was abolished when Sweden joined the European Union in 1995.

10) French drinks group Pernod Ricard has agreed to acquire V&S for US$8.88bn.