The chairman of Remy Cointreau has confirmed that the company is set to create its own distribution company in China and South-East Asia.

Speaking exclusively to just-drinks yesterday (28 November), Dominique Heriard Dubreuil refused to confirm, however, whether the French firm has held discussions with Diageo about a potential deal when Remy Cointreau leaves Maxxium in 2009.

Last year, Remy Cointreau announced that it would leave Maxxium, the global distribution joint venture with Vin & Sprit, Fortune Brands and Edrington Group, in March 2009. The exit cost the French company EUR241m (US$324.3m) before tax.

"We are working on it, that's all I can say at the moment," Heriard Dubreuil told just-drinks. When asked if Remy Cointreau had met with Diageo to discuss a possible tie-up between the two, Heriard Dubreuil said: "We've been preparing. I'm not going to give you any tips at the moment, because we've been talking, and discussing also with our partners in Maxxium."

Speculation has suggested that Remy Cointreau has prepared its exit from Maxxium as a pre-cursor to an acquisition by Diageo, a claim both sides have declined to comment on in the past.

"We definitely have said that we are going to set up our own company in China and South-East Asia," Heriard Dubreuil noted. "The form of the company has not been defined yet, but we will be operating it ourselves. That is all that has been disclosed at the moment."

"We are a loyal and positive partner of the Maxxium joint venture until 30 March 2009," Heriard Dubreuil concluded. "There's no reason to disclose much before then."