Central European Distribution Corp. has plans to raise its full year 2008 net sales guidance in response to rising consumer demand for premium imported spirits and wines.

The US company, which operates mainly in Eastern Europe, said yesterday (17 January) that it will be lifting its net sales guidance this year from between US$1.26bn and $1.36bn to between $1.30bn and $1.40bn. Its full-year comparable fully diluted earnings per share guidance will also be raised from $2.03 - $2.13 to $2.08 - $2.18.

With the introduction of CEDC's rectification facilities, the company said, it has reduced its spirits costs and plans to drive its margins higher this year.

CEDC CEO and president William Carey said: "We are continuing to see strong underlying fundamentals in the Polish economy and appreciation of the local currency as compared to our average rate in 2007. This strong economic growth is fueling increased consumer demand for premium vodka brands and a wide range of imported spirits and wines."

Carey added: "We look for the same positive trends to continue through 2008. Our management team is excited about the continued development in the market and is committed to executing our strategic objectives for 2008."

The guidance does not include the anticipated accretion of $0.20 to $0.30 per share each year from the Parliament acquisition, which is expected to close during the first quarter of this year.

CEDC is the largest vodka producer in Poland by value and produces the Absolwent, Zubrowka, Bols and Soplica brands, among others. CEDC currently exports Zubrowka to European and Asian markets and is the leading distributor by volume and a leading importer by value of alcoholic beverages in Poland.

The company imports many of the world's leading drinks brands to Poland, including Remy Martin, E&J Gallo and Penfolds.