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Pernod finalises 1bn Stolichnaya buyout

Published:  23 July, 2008

Pernod Ricard is looking to finalise a 1 billion purchase of the Russian vodka brand Stolichnaya.

The French drinks manufacturer hopes to complete the buyout of the vodka brand from the SPI Group by May next year.

A close company source told the Mail on Sunday: "Stoli is the company's number one priority. Pernod believes its future depends at all costs on owning a leading vodka brand."

Pernod, which already distributes the Stolichnaya brand outside of Russia, thinks it can treble sales of the product to over nine million cases in the next seven years.

If the deal should go ahead it would position Pernod as a serious competitor to Diageo, which sells the market favourite Smirnoff vodka label.

Pernod has sidelined an annual budget of 50 million for the marketing of Stolichnaya in the US.

Both Diageo and Pernod - with annual sales last year of 7.2bn and 4.5bn respectively - are expected to bid for the 3bn-valued Absolut manufacturer Vin & Sprit early next year.