Oaktree readies Central European vodka maker Stock Spirits for auction


US private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management is readying Stock Spirits, a $1bn Central European drinks company, for auction.

According to Reuters, the firm hasn’t made a final decision to sell, and is also considering an IPO.

The company, whose drinks line includes Polish vodka Czysta de Luxe to Czech plum brandy, said in November that it had brought in Credit Suisse to advise on future strategic options.

No bidders have emerged yet, but consumer-focused private equity firm Lion Capital has form in the CEE beverages market, selling Russian Alcohol Group to Stock Spirits’ listed rival Central European Distribution Corp in December 2009, after a holding period of just 18 months.

Two industry-dominant companies, Diageo and Pernod Ricard, are said to be unlikely to bid given the strength of their existing vodka holdings.

Oaktree recently made two investments worth a combined $380m into the shipping industry. The firm is said to have paid $100m for a majority stake in Dubai company Gulmar, and €200m in German company Beluga shipping.

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