French-based spirits group, Pernod Ricard, is expected to finalise the sale of its BWG distribution operation, which operates in the Irish Republic and in the UK, to the private equity group, Electra, within the next few months. Pernod's joint managing director Richard Burrows said he expected the negotiations to be completed "by early summer."

Pernod Ricard said that sale terms had been agreed and a contract was now being drawn up. No precise sale price has been mentioned but analysts reckon the company would be sold for around €300m.

BWG's turnover last year is estimated to have been around €1.5 billion, up 12% on the year before. BWG's management team, headed by managing director Leo Crawford, is thought to be taking a small equity participation in the company.

In addition to its wholesale distribution operations, BWG owns the Spar and Mace convenience store franchises in the Republic and Northern Ireland respectively, the Spar franchise in the south-west of England and the Bargain Booze off-licence chain in the UK.