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FRANCE: Belvedere sales rise, plans relaunch

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French spirits and wine group Belvedere has said that global sales rose by more than 13% in 2008 and that plans are underway to steer the firm away from bankruptcy.

Belvedere net sales rose by 13.7% to nearly EUR1.2bn (US$1.5bn) for the 12 months of 2008, the group said today (23 February).

Poland, which accounts for nearly two third of sales, reported a 19% sales increase for the period, said Belvedere, which was last year placed under special protection from bankruptcy by a French court.

Value sales rose by 3.2% in the US during the year, although sales in France, which account for just over a fifth of total revenue, fell by 1.1%.

The firm, which owns the Sobieski vodka brand, said that sales were in-line with expectations and that it was confident of relaunching as an independent entity.

Its full-year figures show that sales slowed in the fourth quarter, after rising by 22% for the first nine months of the year.

"The group was hurt at the end of the year by a reorganisation proceeding that adversely affected its ability to find working capital financing necessary to carry it through this peak period of business," Belvedere said.

Operating profit (EBITDA), it said, was likely to be EUR30m for the full-year. Net profit/loss figures for the 12 months were not disclosed, although the firm reported a net loss of EUR38.7m for the first six months of 2008.   

The firm said today that profit in 2008 was further damaged by an EUR11m marketing drive across the US and Ukraine, but that this spend "will create conditions for strong growth in these markets over the next few years".
 
It added that it intends to present a "reorganisation plan" shortly to the French courts. Further details were unavailable.

 


Sectors: Spirits, Wine

Companies: Belvédère Group

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