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CEDC Jumps in New York on Debt Swap as Kaufman Cuts Stake

Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC), Poland’s second-biggest vodka maker, rose the most since the end of January in New York after a shareholder reduced his stake and the company announced a new debt swap offer.

CEDC, as the maker of the Bols, Zubrowka and Zelyonaya Marka brands is known, surged 13 percent to 45 U.S. cents by the close of trading in New York, trimming this year’s tumble to 79 percent. Trading volume was almost four times the average of the past tree months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The new offer reflects terms agreed by CEDC’s biggest shareholder Roust Trading Ltd. and a steering committee of holders of 30 percent of the company’s 2016 notes, according to a statement dated March 8. The plan would give Roust 85 percent of CEDC equity and require other holdings to be reduced to 5 percent. Investor Mark Kaufman, who backed another restructuring plan and has criticized CEDC management, sold about 3.5 million shares last week, cutting his stake to below 5 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and a filing.

“The company will now have a better chance to survive as Mr. Kaufman is selling shares,” Krzysztof Kuper, an analyst at Ipopema Securities SA (IPE) who rates CEDC’s U.S. stock hold, said by phone from Warsaw. “Chances for a successful debt restructuring are now higher.”

CEDC, based in Warsaw, erased about 50 percent of its market value in 2012 amid slumping sales, rising liabilities and management transitions. Revenue fell 8.7 percent in the third quarter to $191.3 million, after shrinking in the previous two quarters, data collated by Bloomberg show. Chief Executive Officer William Carey stepped down in July.

The restructuring aims to reduce CEDC’s debt by as much as $635 million. The company’s shares in Warsaw ended the day 5.8 percent higher at 1.65 zloty, or 52 cents.

To contact the reporter on this story: Halia Pavliva in New York at hpavliva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net

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