US/POLAND: Acquisitions buoy CEDC during 2006

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Central European Distribution Corporation has reported soaring full-year profits for 2006 thanks to first-time contributions from acquisitions in Poland and Hungary.

CEDC, which is headquartered in the US but is Poland's largest vodka group, posted a 78% leap in operating profit to US$91.6m for the year. Revenues rose 26% to US$944.1m.

President and CEO William Carey said yesterday (28 February) that CEDC had spent the last year integrating the acquired business into the company. He said: "We succeeded in delivering outstanding results for 2006. As we move into 2007 our strategy of growing our own brands and exclusive imports to drive higher sales and margins will be our top priority."

Last year, CEDC bought a slew of distributors including Classic, which is based in the north-east of Poland. The company also made its first acquisition outside Poland with the purchase of the Hungarian business of Bols vodka.

Carey was upbeat about the company's prospects in the region for 2007. "We believe that the economic conditions remain strong in Central Europe, which should bode well for continued growth of our higher margin products."

CEDC owns vodkas including Zubrowka and Soplica. Third-party brands in the CEDC stable include Sauza Tequila, Concha y Toro wines and Guinness.

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