Altia's operating profit before extraordinary items as €35.3m, up 8.8% on the previous year and net profit before one-offs was €22.2m.
The company says the figures are based on sales volumes published by the monopolies, Alko (Finlasnd), Systembolaget (Sweden), and Vinmonopolet (Norway). The information relating to Denmark, Estonia and Latvia is based on Altia’s own, local estimates.
Under ‘Operating environment, Altia reports: "The total growth of sales of alcoholic beverages in Finland in 2011 was -1.1 (-3.2)%. The decline in sales of spirits slowed down, but sales were still down by 3.4% (down by 5.4%). Wine sales in 2011 were up by 1.2% (down by 0.2%); excluding fortified wines, whose popularity is declining, wine sales were up by 1.8% (up by 0.5%).
"In Sweden, total sales were up by 0.9% (up by 1.2%). Sales of spirits fell by 3.2% (down by 0.7%), while sales of wines grew by 1.7% (up by 3.6%). In Sweden, as in the other monopoly markets, sales of white wines grew while the growth of red wine sales halted.
"In Norway, total sales were up by 0.6% (up by 1.6%). Sales of spirits were down 4.0% (down by 2.1%), while wine sales were up by 1.2% (up by 2.0%). Norway has the highest taxes on alcoholic beverages in Europe, which makes cross-border and tax-free sales popular and takes away from the monopoly’s sales.
In Denmark there was a slight decline in consumption of spirits in 2011. Wine consumption is estimated to have remained level with the previous year due to consumers stocking up in December before the 55% raise in wine taxation from the start of 2012. Bag-in-boxes continued to grow in popularity and made up nearly 35% of wine sales. The cross-border trade remained active, especially on the German border, due to raises in wine taxes.
"In Estonia, sales of spirits were up in 2011 by approximately 5% and wine sales were up by around 15%. Finnish tourists make up a significant proportion of the sales of alcoholic beverages in Estonia. Local consumers have increased their wine consumption and favour bottles despite the affordable pricing of bag-in-boxes. The grey market accounted for an estimated 10–15% of sales, comprising mostly spirits smuggled from neighbouring countries.
"In Latvia, the overall market grew by 4%, with the wine market growing by as much as 10%. The vodka category was the only one to fall and was down by 7%. The grey market accounted for 30–35% of sales in Latvia and comprised spirits, especially vodka smuggled from neighbouring countries," said the company
In January Altia bought the Xanté Company AB and its brand was transferred to Altia at the beginning of February. Altia owns 100% of the Xanté company and its subsidiary Päronkonjak i Sverige AB.
Looking forward the company says: “The development of the group’s business operations is affected by the economic outlook and changes in the alcohol taxation in different markets. The increase in the alcohol taxation in Finland in the beginning of January 2012 will decline the sales in Finland. Sales in the sector are seasonal, with net sales generally being significantly higher in the fourth quarter.”