Central European Distribution Corp., the Bala Cynwyd vodka maker and distributor, said today that the Russian Anti-Trust Commission had approved the company's obtaining voting control of the Russian Alcohol Group.
CEDC said it completed its option agreement with London-based investment firm Lion Capital, and with Lion's co-investors, to obtain the equity interest that it didn't already hold.
CEDC said in April that it was prepared to spend $532 million in cash, plus stock, to acquire an increasing stake in Russian Alcohol; it already owned a 42 percent share at the time.
CEDC expects to complete the acquisition - acquiring the sole voting share - in January.
The company announced in September that it had acquired a remaining interest in Parliament, which makes and distributes vodka in Russia and other countries.
The purchases were financed with a stock offering.
"We are pleased to receive final approval and look forward to continuing to work with the Russian Alcohol management team to accelerate growth opportunities and integrate the Parliament business," William Carey, president and CEO, said in a statement.
CEDC said earlier this year that Russian Alcohol was expected to have 2009 net sales of $475 million to $500 million, based upon current exchange rates.
CEDC posted a $16.59 million loss last year on revenues of $1.6 billion. In October, the company revised its sales and earnings projections for the year:
Sales for the year now are forecast at $1.58 billion to $1.70 billion instead of a range of $1.55 billion to $1.68 billion. Earnings will be $2.35 to $2.50 per share instead of the previous forecast of $2.40 to $2.65 per share.
Carey said at the time that the company was focusing on boosting its market share and profit margin, and lowering its debt.