Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC) has been given the regulatory green light to purchase a majority stake in Polmos Bialystok. The US-based importer of alcohol into Poland said yesterday (3 October) that the Competition and Consumer Protection Office of the Republic of Poland has approved the purchase.

In granting its approval, however, the office stipulated that CEDC must not directly distribute through its own distribution network over 65% of the vodka sales (by volume) sold either by Polmos Bialystok or Bols Sp. z o.o., a Polish-based distillery that CEDC acquired in August, between now and 2008.

"At least 35% of Polmos Bialystok's and Bols Sp. z o.o. vodka sales (by volume) must be sold through independent third parties (distributors or large retailers)," the company said in a statement. "This stipulation does not apply to exports or locally produced spirits other than vodka."

Domestic sales of Bols, Soplica, Zubrowka and Absolwent are also subject to this 65%/35% condition, the anti-monopoly office ruled.

"We are pleased that the Polish Anti-Monopoly Office has granted us this approval," William Carey, CEO and president, said. "We look forward to working with other third party distributors and large retailers to insure that the fair trade policy required by the Polish Anti-Monopoly Office works well for all parties concerned. As we currently distribute approximately 30% to 35% of Polmos Bialystok's and Bols Sp. z o.o. products, the 65% level required by the Polish Anti-Monopoly Office should not present any difficulties under our evolving business plan."

CEDC said that it anticipates closing the Polmos Bialystok transaction next week.