Nov 21 Polish vodka maker Central European
Distribution Corp on Wednesday urged its top
shareholder, Russian billionaire Roustam Tariko, to make an
offer for the company or help deal with its financing issues.
"If Russian Standard wants total control of CEDC to the
exclusion of other stakeholders, Russian Standard should make an
offer to buy the company or step up with a definitive and
binding offer to help the company through its financing issues,"
CEDC said in a letter to its second-largest shareholder Mark
Tariko, through his firms Russian Standard and Roust
Trading, struck a deal to take a stake of around 28 percent in
CEDC earlier this year, allowing the company to retire looming
However, Tariko in a Nov. 13 letter to the board said Roust
Trading is no longer obligated to complete the pending strategic
alliance deal as recent restatements by the company had led to a
breach of its agreements. Tariko is the chairman and interim
President of CEDC.
CEDC, the maker of Absolwent and Parliament vodka, has been
struggling with debt and also failed to properly record certain
trade rebates provided to customers, resulting in restatements.
The company also denied Kaufman's request for a seat on the
board in its letter.
"You (Kaufman) were an accomplished executive and owner of
the Whitehall spirits business in Russia that was sold to CEDC -
that does not necessarily make you an ideal candidate to be an
independent director of CEDC at this time," CEDC said, citing a
decision by its special committee.
In his letters on Nov. 14 and Nov. 19, Kaufman had called
for a shakeup of CEDC's board and also backed Tariko's concerns
on the company's operation.
CEDC shares closed at $1.84 on the Nasdaq. The shares have
lost nearly 60 percent of their value this year after falling 80
percent in 2011.