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Russian Standard snaps up Gancia

Russian Standard Corporation (RSC) has made its first foray into the wine business by acquiring a 70% stake in Gancia, the Italian wine company.

The company, which has until now been known mostly for its eponymous vodka brand, hopes the acquisition will help it become “one of the dominant players in sparkling wine and vermouth” in Russia.

Gancia says it produces over 25 million bottles of sparkling and still wines and vermouth each year, which are sold in 60 markets across the globe.

An RSC statement said: “The following strategic investment is the next step in Russian Standard’s strategy in building a vertically-integrated company, ensuring a leading position in many key categories of the beverage industry worldwide”.

RSC’s Russian spirits importer Roust will distribute and provide marketing support for the Gancia portfolio from January 2012, while the Vallarino Gancia family will transfer 70% of its shares to the RSC Group.

Roustam Tariko, the founder of Russian Standard, is to be made president of the new company, with Paolo Fontana as CEO and Massimiliano Vallarino Gancia as the global brand ambassador.

Tariko said: “Our strategic long-term investment will provide Russian Standard with a unique opportunity to become one of the dominant players in sparkling wine and vermouth.

“We have a full scale infrastructure, experience and sufficiently financial resources to build Gancia as a leading brand both in Russia and globally.”

Fontana added: “This agreement represents the natural outcome of a path initiated three years ago and it is consistent with the growth strategy to make Gancia a premium brand worldwide in its category.

“In 2010/11, Gancia returned to a positive margin, with sales of more than €70 million. In 2011, the group continued its growth trend both abroad and on the Italian market where it re-acquired leadership in terms of volumes sold and Russian Standard is a leader in all the sectors in which it operates, with a premium positioning currently expanding at a fast pace towards new global markets, Gancia’s main growth target.”

News of the agreement with Gancia follows September’s announcement that Roust is to take on the distribution of the Whyte & Mackay portfolio in Russia.

It also looks after Russian distribution of brands such as Rémy Martin, Jägermeister and Piper Heidsieck.

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