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News Briefs for March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

•Fueled by its increasing emphasis on emerging markets, Diageo has announced plans to refocus its global supply and procurement operations. Under the reorganization, responsibility for local operations will be transferred its 21 key markets while existing regional networks will be minimized. The overall project, which will also involve energy-efficient cost savings, footprint changes and other initiatives, is projected to save Diageo roughly £60 million ($89m) a year. Implementation of the restructure, meanwhile, is slated to take three years and cost a total of around £100 million ($149m).

•Russian Standard chairman Roustam Tariko and his Roust Trading Ltd. (RTL) group have agreed to take up to an 85% stake in financially troubled fellow vodka producer Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC) in exchange for $172 million in cash, as part of CEDC’s restructuring. According to the proposal, proceeds from Roust’s payment will be paid by CEDC to holders of senior secured notes due 2016. Relatedly, holders of CEDC convertible senior notes due March 15, 2013 who tender their notes, and Roust (which holds $20 million in unsecured notes), together will receive another 10% of the company on a pro rata basis. Finally, existing CEDC stockholders will have their holdings diluted to 5% of the equity of CEDC. Altogether, the new proposal put together by Roust—replacing the earlier exchange plan launched in recent days by CEDC—is expected to reduce CEDC’s debt by $635 million. The new offer expires at midnight New York City time, March 23. CEDC says the restructuring will have no effect on its operations across Poland, Russia, Hungary or Ukraine. Just last week, Stolichnaya producer SPI group said it was eyeing its own takeover of CEDC, in collaboration with other unnamed industry players.

•Charmer Sunbelt Group has appointed Guillermo Rodriguez as vice president, business development-Bacardi, effective in May. Rodriguez will continue to be based in South Florida and will report directly to Robert Catalani, Charmer’s executive vice president, sales and marketing. In his new role, he will be responsible for building sales, strategic planning and execution capabilities to enhance the partnership between Charmer and Bacardi. Rodriguez joins Charmer after more than 20 years at Bacardi, where he most recently served as vice president, managing director-East commercial business unit.

•John F. Kennedy International Airport has partnered with food and beverage operator SSP America to revamp the airport’s Terminal 4 dining options. The $28 million makeover will include more than a dozen new eateries, including Shake Shack and Blue Smoke from Danny Meyer, Uptown Brasserie and Street Food from chef Marcus Samuelsson, The Palm Bar & Grille steakhouse, Le Grand Comptoir wine bar and Asobu sushi bar, among other casual and fast-casual concepts. SSP will also debut a 1930’s inspired, New York City-style diner called Central Diner in the terminal’s Arrivals Hall, which will be open to both travelers and the public. The dining renovations are already underway and will be completed in phases, with the first phase slated for completion in May 2013. All of the restaurants are scheduled to open by fall 2013.

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