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US: CEDC revises sales forecasts upward

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Central European Distribution Corporation has raised its full-year guidance for 2009, following its purchase of additional equity interests in Parliament and the Russian Alcohol Group.

The US-based company, which operates primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, said today that it expects net sales this year to come in between US$1.58bn and $1.70bn. Previous guidance had forecast sales of between $1.55bn and $1.68bn.

The revised guidance takes into account the company's acquisition of additional equity interests in Parliament and the Russian Alcohol Group, which are being consolidated beginning at the end of the third quarter 2009, as well as dilution from the company's public offering of common stock in July, and recent exchange rate movements.

CEDC completed its acquisition of the remaining 15% minority interest in Copecresto Enterprises Ltd, owner of the Parliament vodka brand, last month.

"We believe that with the addition of two new lower mainstream brands that we are launching this quarter to our already leading portfolio in Russia, we are well positioned for a strong year in 2010," said company CEO and president, William Carey.

"With our recent acquisition of the remaining outstanding minority equity interests in Parliament, we are starting to move forward on our plans for integrating certain segments of our Russian business in the first quarter of 2010. We have been encouraged that we have seen our markets stabilise over the summer and expect an uptick in consumer demand as we head into our peak sales period and into the year 2010."

Looking forward, CEDC said it expects sales in 2010 total between $1.80bn and $2.00bn and full-year comparable fully diluted earnings per share guidance of $3.00-$3.15.


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