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FRANCE: Belvédère sells US assets for $48m

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Belvédère has said that it will sell the industrial assets of Florida Distillers to an unidentified buyer for US$48m in order to meet debt repayments.

Belvédère said that proceeds from the sale will go towards the first tranche of its debt repayment programme, which is due 10 November. Asset sales are a central plank of the firm's plan to pay back creditors and emerge from bankruptcy protection in France.

Belvédère acquired Florida Distillers in April 2007 for $56m. The deal marked the beginning of its development strategy in the US.

The firm said today (1 November) that, including the sale of Florida Distillers' Vinegar and Cooking Wine branch for $31m in March 2008, it has made "a significant capital gain" from selling off the business.

The embattled French drinks group said that distribution of its vodka brands, Sobieski and 4 Orange, will remain in-house in the US, via its US subsidiary Imperial Brands.

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