UDV has signed a new five-year agreement with the Russian distillery Liviz to produce Smirnoff for the Russian market, it was announced this week.

Liviz, based in St Petersburg, has been producing Smirnoff since 1997 and will now continue to do so until 2005. Smirnoff accounts for 10% of the distillery's 14m litre output. Smirnoff from the distillery is also exported to CIS countries and the Baltics.

Interfax reported that UDV had spent a total of $43m to market Smirnoff and other company trademarks in Russia and 1m bottles of the vodka brand were sold on the market in 2000.

Meanwhile, OST-Alko has reported that it intends to increase production of Boris Smirnov vodka to 2-3m bottles a month.

The Boris Smirnov brand is the third brand in a triangular fight for the Smirnov trademark that also includes UDV and The Trading House of PA Smirnov.

The Boris Smirnov trademark is owned by Boris Smirnov, who until recently was the director of The Trading House of PA Smirnov. However, he transferred his 50% share of the Trading House to the OST Group after falling out with his partner Alfa-Eko.

Alfa Eko had gained its 50% in the company after former partner Andrei Smirnov sold his rights to the conglomerate following the failure of the Trading House to defeat UDV over the trademark dispute.