Absolut vodka maker Vin & Sprit VSG.UL will be sold next year via auction, the government said on Tuesday, and could fetch $6-7 billion in Sweden's biggest privatization.
The sale of one of the world's best-selling vodka brands has already drawn interest from suitors including U.S.-based Fortune Brands (FO), France's Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA), unlisted firm Bacardi and Britain's Diageo Plc (DGE.L), along with Sweden's Investor (INVEb.ST) with private equity partner EQT.
Financial Markets Minister Mats Odell said price would be the government's prime consideration and it was contacting interested parties on Tuesday.
He said he thought Absolut production would stay in Sweden but this was not a requirement for the sale.
The centre-right government also plans to sell all or part of five wholly or partially state-owned firms, including mortgage lender SBAB SBAB.UL, bourse operator OMX (OMX.ST ) and real estate firm Vasakronan VASA.UL in a drive to raise 200 million Swedish crowns ($31.10 million) for debt reduction by 2010....MORE