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Vin & Sprit auction formally announced

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Vin & Sprit (V&S) auction will be executed in the new year, according to the Swedish government.

Mats Odell, Minister for Local Government and Financial Markets, said the auction - which is widely anticipated within the drinks industry - has now completed its analysis and preparation phase in line with the Government's plan to reduce state ownership in V&S.

The company, which manufactures Absolut Vodka and is valued at between $5 and $7 billion, is being auctioned as part of a Government scheme to privatise 6 companies and raise $31bn.

Morgan Stanley will act as administrator for the auction and interested parties will be invited to bid for the company in 2008. It is expected that first round indicative offers will be made around the end of January.

Odell commented "I am pleased that we are now entering into an execution phase," adding the V&S auction will benefit the Swedish people through a "responsible and diligent" process.

The auction has drawn attention from a number of potential suitors including Pernod Ricard, Fortune Brands, Bacardi and Diageo while Swedish private-equity firm EQT and Swedish investment company Investor AB have signalled their interest also.

Some 85% of V&S revenue is accounted for by sales of Absolut Vodka.