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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

The announcement of the sale of Oddbins, Seagram's award-winning specialist off-licence chain to the Castel Frres group which owns the Nicolas brand and chain, is expected any day now. The Diageo/Pernod Ricard committee charged with selling unwanted Seagram's assets such as Oddbins and the Sandeman Port brand is believed to have agreed a price with the French group, and is currently undergoing due diligence. Sandeman is expected to go to either Sogrape, owners of Mateus Ros and Ferreira and Offley Ports, or Amorim, the Portuguese cork producer and owner of the Burmester Port brand. Diageo, in posting its pre-tax profits to 30 June, announced that the US regulators are not expected to pronounce on the carving up of the Seagram's drinks business by Diageo and Pernod Ricard before October. Profits rose 19% to 1.72 billion. Turnover rose 8% to 12.8 billion. While the Burger King business is holding the group back, sales of its drinks brands rose 7% to 7.58 billion, driven mainly by its RTD (ready-to-drink) products such as Smirnoff Ice and Archers Aqua