Pernod Ricard has confirmed it is close to completing the disposal of SIAS-MPA to Butler Capital Partners (BCP).

SIAS-MPA, a major world player in fruit preparation for the milk industry, is currently valued at €170m (US$151.8m) (including debts and minority interests). This could increase by €25m, allowing Pernod Ricard to benefit from the future profit achieved by Butler Capital Partners when they choose to exit.

Pernod Ricard will agree to give BCP a credit-facility amounting to €50m. A partial repayment of this credit will be conditional on SIAS-MPA's future performance.

Patrick Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard said "Further to the disposal of Orangina Pampryl last October, this transaction highlights our strategy to refocus on our core business, spirits and wine, a sector in which we are now positioned third world-wide following the recent acquisition of Seagram's assets. I would also like to acknowledge the competence and focus of the SIAS employees who allowed us to become world leaders in this sector."

Pernod Ricard disposed of San Giorgio Flavours and Italcanditi during the first half of 2001, and with the sale of SIAS-MPA, the company will have completed divesting itself of the entire SIAS Group.