Controversy Surrounds Armenian Brandy Co. Sale

PARIS (AFX)–Pernod Ricard reported that it won the bid to buy Armenian Brandy Co.–Armenia’s largest brandy manufacturer–which is in the process of being privatized–for 180 million French fran’s.

It reported that the company has yet "to cross a few legal and parliamentary hurdles" before its offer for the company is completed; and that it would market the product particularly in Russia.

Minister of Economic Reforms Vahram Avanesyan–on the other hand–reported that the sale is not complete and a price has not yet been fixed. He stressed that only the government committee dealing with the competition has the right to make public such statemen’s as the abovementioned.

Avanesyan said the matter is complicated and no decision has been finalized. He also stressed that the government has set exclusive conditions and if they are not met–another competitor will be sought. He said purchasing Armenian Brandy Co. means being able to preserve the heritage of the brandy.

Avanesyan viewed Pernod Ricard giving information to the Itar-Tass news agency as an attempt to gain powerful support for its bid.

Presidential advisor to former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan Vahakn Khachadrian made a similar statement regarding the alleged Pernod Ricard purchase of Armenian Brandy Co. earlier last week.

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