Poland and Italy drive sales growth for Stock Spirits

Stock Spirits Group increased volume sales by 2% to 8.3 million 9-litre cases in the six months to March 31.

Revenue dipped by 3.3% to €183.4 million and operating profit before exceptional items was down by 2.3% to €37.9 million.

However, total profit for the period was up 91.6% year-on-year to €28.1 million, as it had an exceptional charge of €15.5 million during the trailing period.

It led the UK-based company to issue an interim dividend of €0.0298 per share, an increase of 7.6% on the 2020 interim dividend.

Poland is the firm’s largest market, accounting for 57% of sales, and revenue increased 4.3% there, while EBITDA was up 6.8%.

However, revenue in the Czech Republic – which accounts for 25% of group sales – declined by 13.6% due to on-trade closures. Yet revenue in Italy was up by 26.3%, and it now accounts for 10% of the group’s revenue, while sales also improved in Slovakia, Croatia and Bosnia.

Net debt decreased 30.9% to €38.3 million as of March 31.

“This has been another resilient financial and operational performance against a hugely challenging backdrop,” said chief executive Mirek Stachowic. “We managed to largely counterbalance the widespread closure of the on-trade in all of our markets by growing our strong brands in the off-trade. This was driven both by successful product innovations and by the trend for consumers to turn to familiar and trusted brands during times of uncertainty.

“We are broadly on track with our plans for the year, notwithstanding the continuing disruption from the pandemic and the impact from the Polish small format tax.

“Whilst there remains some uncertainty in the short-term outlook, we remain confident in the future prospects for Stock Spirits, as illustrated both by the investments that we are making in our brands and infrastructure, and by the continuation of our progressive dividend policy.”