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Finnish state to sell off iconic booze brand

The Finnish state-owned alcoholic drinks maker Altia, whose biggest brand is Koskenkorva vodka, plans to list its shares in order to improve its business.

Koskenkorvapulloja Alkon hyllyllä
Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

Finnish alcoholic beverage maker Altia announced on Friday that it plans to list its shares on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

Altia, which is fully owned by the Finnish state, is largely known for its Koskenkorva vodka, which is distilled in the village of Koskenkorva in Ostrobothnia.

”The Finnish general public has an opportunity to own a piece of a growth story based on domestic raw materials,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, referring to Altia’s use of Finnish barley at its Koskenkorva plant. The flotation is part of the government’s plan to sell shares in state-owned businesses.

Meanwhile, Altia’s CEO Pekka Tennilä said that listing the shares would enable strategic flexibility and bring ”opportunities to develop the drinking culture in a responsible manner.”

Even after the public offering Finland would continue as a significant shareholder in Altia. At least a third of the company’s shares would remain in state ownership.

The company, whose other products include Renault and Larsen cognacs and Chill Out wines, has 700 employees.

Last year, Altia’s sales amounted to 359 million euros and it had an operating margin of 7.3 percent.

The listing is likely to take place at the end of March.

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