SWEDEN: Government confirms plan to sell V&S

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The Swedish government has confirmed that it is planning to sell off V&S Group, the owner of Absolut vodka.

The centre-right government, which came to power in September, officially announced today (14 December) that V&S would be among the six state-controlled companies it would look to privatise.

Speaking to just-drinks, a spokesperson for V&S said: "The government has now decided how it wants to organise the potential sale of six state-owned companies. They have decided it will be the Minister of Economics who will take care of the privatisation process."

The spokesperson added: "There is no news on how, when or where the privatisation will take place."

The Swedish government will need to get approval from the country's parliament to sell off the state-owned companies, which also include telecoms firm TeliaSonera AB and Nordic banking group Nordea AB.

No time-frame was given on any sale but the Swedish authorities are rumoured to be looking to begin the process of selling V&S in March.

The privatisation plans cover up to SEK150bn (US$21.8bn) of state-owned assets. Nevertheless, the V&S spokesperson noted that the value of the six companies that are slated to be sold is "way over" SEK150bn.

Speculation on the future of V&S has grown since the change in government in September. A number of drinks companies have been named as possible buyers, including Constellation Brands, Brown-Forman, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard.

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