Diageo eyes bid for Polish vodka maker

Marion Dakers
DRINKS giant Diageo hopes to extend its buying spree by snapping up central European-focused spirits company Stock Spirits for more than $1bn (£622m).

Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits maker, is one of several companies in the running to buy Stock Spirits, a source familiar with the company said yesterday. The news comes just weeks after Diageo announced its purchase of a Turkish spirits group Mey Içki for £1.3bn.

Lion Capital, Apax Partners and Advent International are also believed to be eyeing the company, though all were unavailable or declined to comment yesterday.

Oaktree Capital Management has owned Stock since 2007, but hired Credit Suisse in November to help sell off the company, which owns Advocaat liquer, Hammer Head whisky and Zoladkowa Gorzka, Poland’s leading vodka brand.

Stock is headquartered in the Luxembourg and has operations in the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic and Italy.

Diageo said when it announced its purchase of Mey Icki that it would continue to look for opportunities in central and eastern Europe.

The firm hopes to find growth in emerging markets to replace sales lost in western Europe during the recession.

A Diageo spokesperson declined to comment yesterday.