• Talks break down over terms of deal
  • Stock still keen on acquisitions
  • Russian Standard emerges as sole Nemiroff bidder
Bidders for Nemiroff dwindle as Stock Spirits pulls out

Bidders for Nemiroff dwindle as Stock Spirits pulls out

Stock Spirits has ended its interest in acquiring Nemiroff in a development that is believed to leave Russian Standard as the sole bidder for the Ukrainian vodka giant.

A Stock Spirits spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks today (4 October) that talks with Nemiroff have broken down. "Following intensive due diligence, neither side could agree on a satisfactory way forward and we wish them the very best," he said.

"We continue to pursue discussions with multiple players in the Central & Eastern Europe market as part of our consolidation strategy in the region," he added.

Stock Spirits follows rival Central European Distribution Corp (CEDC) out of the Nemiroff auction room. The moves are thought to have left Russian Standard Vodka as the sole bidder for Nemiroff, which dominates Ukraine's vodka market and has recently moved into Russia.

Nemiroff, which sells more than half of its vodka volume in Ukraine, last month topped the latest list of Elite Brands published by drinks research group IWSR. It has grown volumes sales by an average 5.1% annually between 2004 and 2009 to reach almost 8.85m nine-litre cases, according to IWSR figures.

Analysts have priced Nemiroff at around US$320m, according to a poll of analysts by Russian news publication Kommersant. The Ukraine-based group said at the start of 2010 that it would seek a buyer for its business.  

Russian Standard's owner, billionaire Roustam Tariko, told Bloomberg last week that the firm could expand into Ukraine. Earlier this summer, Tariko confirmed that Russian Standard was interested in acquiring Nemiroff.

Russian Standard has entered the IWSR Elite Brands list for the first time, in seventh position, following average annual volume growth of 12% between 2004 and 2009. However, volume sales dipped last year, to 1.91m nine-litre cases compared to 1.93m in 2008.

Spokespeople for Russian Standard and Nemiroff were unavailable for comment when contacted by just-drinks today.