Chief executive Chris Heath refused to be drawn on the current strategic review of the company’s business which is being conducted by Credit Suisse. He said the company was looking at other brands and companies and had been in negotiation with various companies for brands that are either number one or have the potential to be a best seller, but they were only interested “at the right price”.
He said the central European specialist now had six ‘millionaire’ brands – Czysta de Luxe, Zoladkowa Gorzka, 1906, Lubelska, Stock Prestiage (all Polish) and Bozkov from the Czech Republic.
Stock was number one in Poland for spirits (both clear and flavoured vodka and brandy). In the Czech Republic, it is number one for all spirits, including bitters, rum, whisk(e)y, vodka and liqueurs. It was number one in Italy for brandy, limoncello, vodka-based flavour liqueur and number two for clear vodka.
It also claims to be the largest spirits importer in Slovakia, have the number one brandy in Slovenia and number two brandy in Bosnia and Croatia.
Stock is the number one vodka producer in Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic, according to Heath. Its Zoladkowa Gorzka Bison Grass vodka won a gold medal and the overall trophy for vodka in the International Spirits Challenge 2010
Heath said that Stock was now trading in the UK and had got Stock XO brandy and Limoncello liqueur into multiple retailer, Tesco.
Owned by private equity company Oaktee, Heath said that as well as strengthening current brands, launching new ones, expanding the distribution of core brands and further improving its manufacturing capability and flexibility, they were also looking to buy new brands and business with a focus on central Europe and filling in any gaps in its portfolio.
The company continued to look after the Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey brand, that is now owned by William Grant & Sons. Heath said Stock had had approaches from other companies seeking to find distributors and agents for its brands. They were looking actively at options, particularly in the super premium and imported categories.