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The German alcohol producer Eckes is to further spoil Pernod Ricard's Polish vodka dreams by announcing that it is looking to bid for one of the five Polish vodka distilleries presently up for grabs.

A public relations representative of the German company told the Polish press this week that Eckes was particularly interested in one of the three leading Polmoses, Poznan, Bialystock or Zielona Gora.

However the choice and decision to buy will depend on market conditions and will take time to make, the source said.

The news will be of concern to Pernod particularly over Poznan and Bialystock, which produce the brands Wyborowa and Zubrowka respectively - brands which Pernod had, until recently, the international distribution rights for and is looking to buy itself.

The Germans would look to sell the vodka in the five European countries where it has factories and distribution networks, according to the Polish report. The company has a 10% share of the German alcohol market, 19% in Austria and 30% in the Czech republic.

The Polish government is planning to put all 21 Polmoses up for privatisation, but to date has only opened negotiations for five, namely Poznan, Bialystock, Zielona Gora, Zyrardow and Lublin.

Among the other international firms thought to be preparing a bid for the five on the market already is Swedish drinks monopoly Vin & Sprit, the owner of Absolut Vodka.

Companies: Pernod Ricard, Absolut

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