LVMH, the world’s leading luxury group, has reached an agreement to acquire a 40% interest in Millennium Import Company, an operating division of Phillips Beverage Company of Minneapolis, USA. Millennium is the controlling shareholder of the Zyrardow Distillery located near Warsaw, Poland. Millennium also owns the exclusive worldwide rights to Belvedere and Chopin, two of the world’ foremost luxury vodkas. Moët Hennessy, the wines and spirits arm of LVMH with brands such as Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy, will add Belvedere and Chopin to its stable of luxury brands and distribute both vodkas outside North America. Belvedere and Chopin, which were first introduced in 1996 and 1997, respectively, are expected to sell over 450,000 cases in the USA in 2002, a 25% increase over last year. Millennium first recognized the potential demand for luxury vodka in the USA, where the brands have enjoyed unprecedented success. This investment will enable Moët Hennessy to increase its share of the luxury Wines and Spirits market. Christophe Navarre, President of Moët Hennessy said: “Edward Phillips and his team have built a fine business at Millennium and we are delighted at the prospects of working with them and investing in their company. We look forward to helping to build their brands worldwide thus strengthening Moët Hennessy’s position as the leading luxury Wines and Spirits Group. This partnership brings together complementary strengths and savoir faire in a market that presents great opportunities for creating value.” Edward Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Millennium, said “We consider LVMH to be the quintessential luxury brands company in the world and Moët Hennessy to occupy the same pillar position in the international drinks industry. We carefully identified Moët Hennessy as our worldwide partner based upon shared values, culture and know-how. I can’t envision a more outstanding opportunity for our people and brands ; nor can I imagine a higher compliment to the Polish people and the brands they create. The investment is expected to be completed by year-end subject to board and regulatory approvals.