Stock Spirits reports volumes and operating profits down

28 August, 2014

Stock Spirits Group PLC, the Central and Eastern European branded spirits producer, has announced its six monthly results for the period ended June 30, 2014.

Total revenue is down 10% to €137.7 million (2013: €153.1m) and total volume is down to 6.8 million 9-litre cases (2013: 7.8 million). It says these reflect the impact of the Polish duty sales re-phasing and adverse foreign exchange movements in the Czech Republic.

Operating profit before exceptional costs are down 23% to €23.2m (2013: €30.3m) which includes the impact of the Polish duty increase of €5m, foreign exchange movements, incremental costs of being a listed company and the presentation of new Long Term Incentive Plans for management.

Profit after tax is up to €16.8m (2013: €10.7m loss) reflecting a reduction in exceptional and finance costs as a result of the capital restructuring at the time of the IPO (initial public offering).

Stock says results are in line with expectations and on track to deliver full year targets.

Among operational highlights, Stock reports:

· ‘Project Polar’ the roll out of 20,000 fridges in traditional off-trade stores completed in February 2014;

· The impact of the 15% excise duty increase, which resulted in the pulling forward of €5 million of operating profit into 2013, has been mitigated by effective management action;

· 14 new product launches including Sznaps and new flavours of Lubelska in Poland and a new range of flavoured vodkas in Slovakia;

· New distribution agreement signed in Croatia with Beam Suntory.

Stock CEO Chris Heath said: “The group’s results for the first half of the year 2014 are in line with our internal targets and we are on track to meet our expectations for the full year. This solid performance has been delivered despite the challenge posed by the January 2014 excise duty increase in our largest market, Poland.

"We have continued to grow our share of the key profit pools in Poland and have successfully launched a number of exciting new products in all of our core markets.

“We are also pleased to have added a new distribution agreement with Beam Suntory in Croatia in line with our strategic aim of increasingly premiumising our portfolio in our core markets. Along with our existing agreements with Beam Suntory in Poland and Diageo in the Czech Republic, we are now working in partnership with global spirits leaders in three of our six core markets.

"As intended at the time of the IPO last year, the board is pleased to announce the payment of a maiden interim dividend of €0.0125 per share to shareholders. The group is well placed to capitalise on the opportunities available in the Central and Eastern European region and we continue to view the future with confidence,” said Heath.

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