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Sweden to split Vin & Sprit

Published:  23 July, 2008

Makers of Absolut vodka faces the split

Sweden could consider splitting up state-owned spirits group Vin & Sprit ahead of a planned privatisation, a Swedish newspaper reported has reported, quoting a senior government official.

The government plans to sell all or part of Vin & Sprit, maker of Absolut vodka, in the Nordic country's biggest ever privatisation.

"There are different scenarios," Jonas Iversen, head of the government's unit for state ownership, was quoted as saying by business daily Dagens Industri.

"Vin & Sprit on the one hand has a very internationally strong business, spearheaded by Absolut and other international brands, but also a Nordic segment with wine and distilled beverages. It is reasonable to review this in a potential transaction."

The privatisation process, which include stakes in telecom operator TeliaSonera, real estate firm Vasakronan and mortgage lender SBAB, was also picking up speed in order to benefit from the strong economy.

"Economic conditions are good and it has often proven that this kind of situation is a good market for those selling companies," Iversen was quoted as saying.

"That naturally influences us and effects the preconditions for doing good business."

Iversen added interest from potential buyers was great, not least in Vin & Sprit, Vasakronan and SBAB which as unlisted firms had previously not been seriously eyed by market players.

"The interest is coming form industrial players, private equity firms and various representatives both from Sweden and from abroad," he said.