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Russian Standard Seeks to Buy Vodka Maker Nemiroff

(Corrects to say volume in penultimate paragraph of story published June 18.)

Russian billionaire Roustam Tariko, the owner of Russian Standard vodka, said his company is seeking to buy Nemiroff, a Ukrainian vodka maker, to add a mid-level brand to its portfolio.

“In the middle segment, it is much faster to buy than to build” new brands, Tariko said in a Bloomberg Television interview in St. Petersburg today. Nemiroff’s owners will choose the buyer early next month and Tariko expects to complete the purchase by the end of the year if his bid wins, he added.

Nemiroff, which calls itself Ukraine’s largest vodka producer, may be valued at as much as $350 million, Victor Dima, an analyst at Oktritie investment bank in Moscow, wrote in a report Feb. 3. Poland’s Central European Distribution Corp., the owner of Russian Alcohol Group, is interested in buying a stake in Nemiroff, CEDC Chief Executive Officer William Carey said Feb. 17.

“I have always been interested in the middle segment,” Tariko said in the interview. “This is a very big segment and there is a great combination of volume and revenue margins.”

Russian Standard says it is the country’s biggest producer of so-called premium vodka, defined as costing more than 200 rubles ($6.45) per 0.75 liter bottle. The company expects local sales to rise 10 percent to 15 percent this year, with “double- digit growth” in export sales, Tariko said.

“The U.S. remains our strongest export market,” Tariko said. Russian Standard, which sells its vodka in more than 70 countries, sees export sales in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Canada and duty-free stores rising to as much as 80 percent of total volume this year, he added.

Tariko was ranked Russia’s 47th-richest man, with an estimated fortune of $1.4 billion, by Forbes magazine in April. Tariko’s Russian Standard Corp. runs a liquor distribution business, the original source of his wealth, and owns a bank.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Ermakova in Moscow at mermakova@bloomberg.net; Anastasia Ustinova in St. Petersburg at austinova@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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