| March 1
March 1 A unit of Russia's Alfa Group is
interested in putting together a consortium to restructure one
of the world's largest vodka producers, Central European
Distribution Corp, according to a U.S. securities
The president of A1, Alfa Group's venture capital unit,
reportedly wrote to the committee of holders of CEDC's notes
that mature in 2016 to say it wanted to assemble a group to
invest up to $250 million to restructure CEDC, according to a
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC filing was made by Mark Kaufman of Monaco, CEDC's
second-largest shareholder. A1 is one of Russia's largest
investment groups. Kaufman was commenting on the letter from A1.
The letter was not included in the filing with the SEC.
A1, and attorneys for the committee and CEDC did not reply
to a request for comment. Kaufman's attorney declined to
CEDC, with headquarters in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and
Warsaw, Poland, has been rocked by problems with its financial
reporting, the resignation of its chief executive and recent
battles with shareholders over control of the company.
Nasdaq-listed stock of the company, which has a leading
share of the vodka markets in Russia, Hungary and Poland, has
plummeted to around 60 cents from more than $70 in 2008.
The company has warned it may file for bankruptcy. It has
$258 million in convertible notes that mature on March 15, but
has less than $70 million available in cash and credit lines to
meet that obligation.
In Kaufman's filing, he said A1 expressed an interest in
putting together a consortium that would include Kaufman and
CEDC's chairman, Roustam Tariko, who is also a major investor in
the vodka producer.
CEDC has proposed a bond exchange to cut its debt by $750
million, and it said if the exchange fails to garner the
necessary support of holders of 95 percent of its notes it will
file for bankruptcy.
Kaufman and Tariko have also outlined their own proposals to
cut the company's debt.
CEDC said in a proxy on Thursday that it had received
interest from "a significant third party group" about a