Bermuda-based Bacardi has taken the first step towards an initial public offering of the drinks group, famous for its white rum as well as Dewar’s whisky and Bombay Sapphire gin.

Some two-thirds of the 600 shareholders voted to issue two classes of stock, which analysts have said could raise upto $7bn.

Bacardi said a further positive vote by two-thirds of all shareholders plus board approval would be required before shares could be issued.