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Lion preys on Russian Alcohol

27 August, 2008
Page 5 
Private equity group Lion Capital has announced that it has bought a majority stake in the Russian Alcohol Group, owners of the leading vodka brand Green Mark.

The Central European Distribution Corporation , one of the world's largest vodka producers and a big player in Poland and Russia, has also invested in Russian Alcohol.

Russian Alcohol claims to be the largest producer of vodka and ready-to-drink (RTDs) in Russia. Created by Industry Investors in 2003, its flagship Green Mark brand claims to be largest vodka brand by volume in Russia and one of the top five globally.

CEDC president William Carey said he was "extremely excited" by the deal, and hinted that his firm may seek to buy Russian Alcohol in full.

"Should we realise full ownership of the Russian Alcohol business, we expect that there will be significant synergies across our business in Russia, which we believe should create an enviable portfolio and market position," he said.

Russian Alcohol also makes premium vodka Zhuravli, and boasts one of the largest portfolios of long drinks in the country. It is based in Moscow and employs 3,500 people across five production facilities. In its current financial year, the group expects to generate more than US$500 million in sales.