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FRANCE: Belvedere "working on solutions" to share repurchase breach

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Belvédère is "working on various solutions" to correct an issue that has led to its voluntary trading suspension.

The French wine and spirits company, which sold its non-alcoholic beverage division last September, saw its share price crash by 30% late last week after one of its auditors highlighted a breach of its own rules on buying up its shares.

KPMG advised Belvedere that repurchases of shares made in September and October 2007 exceeded purchase limits authorised under the Indenture for the Floating Rate Notes.

The company was obliged to make two acquisitions of shares following its acquisition of Florida Distillers and completion of the PIPE transaction in July, which "ended the dispute between the company and its majority shareholder".

In August, Belvédère's founders, president & CEO Jacques Rouvroy and Christophe Trylinski, levered more than EUR300m (US$410.2m) to acquire Caribbean conglomerate CL Financial's 62% stake in the company.

"The company and its management are working on various solutions to correct this situation under the FRN Indenture as promptly as possible," the company said yesterday (23 June). "The proposed solutions to correct the situation arising out of the excessive number of shares held in the treasury are part of the discussions relating to our group's future."

Meanwhile, reports from France today have said that a shareholder in Belvedere has asked the French stock market regulator to look into information Belvedere has issued to the market. Colette Neuville was cited in Les Echos as saying that the regulator should investigate information given by Belvedere's managers to the market concerning their share purchases in the company and its debt.


Sectors: Spirits, Wine

Companies: Belvédère Group

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