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Roust offloads nine vodka brands for $1bn

Russian Standard owner Roust has agreed to sell nine Polish vodka brands, including Żubrówka, to food firm Maspex in a deal valued at almost US$1 billion.

Roust owns the Żubrówka brand
Żubrówka is the world’s third biggest-selling vodka, selling 10m nine-litre cases in 2020

Roust, which is headquartered in Moscow, Russia, has signed an agreement with strategic investor Maspex to sell its Polish subsidiary Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC) for PLN3,890 million (US$973m).

Maspex is described as the largest private Polish food company and one of the biggest in Central and Eastern Europe.

Roust said the deal is in line with its strategy to focus on further growth in Russia and the international expansion of its global brands.

CEDC, which was acquired by Russian Standard in 2013, is the top alcoholic beverage company in Poland with annual sales of more than 19 million nine-litre cases.

The sale of the group’s Polish arm includes nine vodka brands – Absolwent, Żubrówka, Bols, Royal, Soplica, Żytniówka, Palace, Aurora and Romanoff.

According to Roust, CEDC is the market leader in vodka in Poland, doubling both its vodka market share to 47% and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to more than US$100m since 2013.

According to The Brand Champions 2021 report, Żubrówka is the world’s third biggest-selling vodka, selling 10m nine-litre cases in 2020. Soplica is the eighth biggest-selling vodka on the list, with 4.3m cases in 2020. Żytniówka also sold more than 2m cases last year.

The transaction also includes CEDC’s two vodka distilleries in Poland, with an annual production capacity of more than 780m bottles of vodka, and three licensed warehouses.

CEDC imports alcohol brands in Poland, including Grant’s whisky, Rémy Martin, Metaxa, Jägermeister, Campari and Aperol.

Roust said it will retain ownership of Russian vodka brands such as Russian Standard, Talka and Green Mark, as well as its six vodka production distilleries in the country, and its distribution business in Russia and global markets. Roust also operates production and distribution sites in the UK, Hungary and the US.

Roust will remain the distributor of CEDC brands across key global markets, while CEDC will continue to distribute Russian Standard and the Gancia sparkling wine brand in Poland.

The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.

At the start of 2021, Roust launched its own distribution company in the UK with Paragon Brands.

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