Process letters have been sent this week to the 15 candidates who have signalled their interest in acquiring champagne house Lanson International.

The candidates, whose identity has not been disclosed, are thought to include both investment funds and firms operating in the sector. They have until 6 October to submit bids.

Lanson, formerly Marne & Champagne, is 56%-owned by the Mora family while the remaining 44% is in the hands of French savings bank, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne.

The bank acquired the stake in summer 2004 for €38m, effectively rescuing Lanson from going into administration. As part of the deal, it provided a year-long credit facility of €410m which was renewed in July.