Polish distiller Polmos Lublin looks set to face a change in ownership after its controlling shareholder was bought by a US private equity fund.

US-based Oaktree Capital Management yesterday (5 October) struck a deal to buy Polish firm Jablonna, which had held a 41% stake in Polmos Lublin.

No financial details were disclosed but according to Polish press reports, the value of the stake is around PLN95m (US$30.6m).

Under Polish law, Oaktree must table a bid for the rest of the shares in Polmos Lublin and has offered PLN52 a share. Oaktree vice president Justin Bickle said: "We are paying a full and fair price to the current shareholders and we believe that the current shareholders will respond accordingly."

Oaktree admitted its move for Polmos Lublin was "opportunistic" and was prompted by the failure of US-based Central European Distribution Corporation to buy Lublin.

CEDC, Poland's largest vodka producer, saw its bid to buy Lublin blocked in May when Poland's anti-trust authorities blocked the acquisition on competition grounds.

Oaktree said: "The Polish vodka market is highly competitive and has matured to the point where it is declining. As a result, Oaktree will concentrate on maintaining (Polmos Lublin's) current market position, which will require long term investments."

Polmos Lublin's key brands include vodkas Zoladkowa Gorzka and Zubr.