Multi Group invests $7.5 mln in Yerevan’s Ararat

Interfax
July 6 2004

Multi Group invests $7.5 mln in Yerevan’s Ararat

Yerevan. (Interfax) – Multi Group, one of Armenia’s leading
diversified conglomerates, has invested $7.5 million in Yerevan
brandy maker Ararat, primarily in new equipment and building repairs,
group owner Gagik Tsarukian said.

The winery, which Multi Group acquired in 2002, began making Noi
brandy and using the Ararat label in April 2004 after standing idle
for eight years.

The Ararat winery and the Yerevan Brandy Company (YBC) recently
signed an open-ended agreement on the equal use of the Ararat logo,
and now only these two companies have the right to use the logo,
Tsarukian said.

The Ararat winery plans to compete with YBC in procurement of grapes
and on sales markets, he said. The winery plans to buy 15,000 tonnes
of grapes in Armenia this year at higher prices than YBC, he said.

The company plans to sell 2 million bottles of brandy by the end of
this year, of which 90% ordinary and 10% fine brandies.

Next year, the company plans to increase grape purchases to 20,000
tonnes, and brandy sales by 30-40%, Tsarukian said. The main markets
are now Russia and other CIS countries.

The company also plans to produce wine, he said, adding that the
company now has seven or eight types of old wines in its cellars
dating from 1913-1956.

By October, the winery will be completely modernized and renovated,
and its workforce will grow from the current 240 to 600 people, he
said.

As reported earlier, the Ararat winery has 6 million liters of brandy
alcohol, which is enough for three or four years of production.

Multi Group includes 37 manufacturing, service and trade enterprises.