‘No evidence’ of Stock Spirits ‘turnaround’
Stock Spirits has released a statement claiming a “satisfactory” start to its 2017 trading year, however a spokesperson from its largest shareholder says there is “no evidence” of a turnaround.
The Central and Eastern Europe-focused drinks group saws its sales declines slow to -0.6% in 2016, and continued to struggle in Poland in the first quarter of 2017.
The improved performance followed a restructure which aimed to “simplify” the business.
Western Gate, Stock Spirits largest shareholder with a 9.7% stake, had said the reforms don’t go far enough.
“There is no evidence of any turnaround at Stock Spirits,” said Western Gate’s Luis Amaral.
“Although its Polish market share has stabilised at c.25% after collapsing from nearly 40%, costs remain stubbornly high and there is no evidence of any growth – nor has the company explained to its shareholders what the strategy is to deliver growth.”
Amaral added it was “not surprising” that 30% of shareholders voted against the re-election of non-executive chairman David Maloney at the AGM.
Stock Spirits has released a statement in response to Amaral’s comments: “All resolutions were approved by shareholders at the Stock Spirits annual general meeting. There were no questions asked at the meeting.
“Stock Spirits is in regular dialogue with shareholders and will discuss any concerns that they have. David Maloney continues to enjoy the full support of the Board of Stock Spirits.”
In its annual general meeting (AGM) trading statement, the company said it has invested in pricing to maintain market share in the key market, and has also implemented a cost savings regime in Italy and the UK.
The company is hoping to realise additional savings of €1.5 million (US$1.7m) from 2018 from integrating its legal and operations teams and the closure of its Swiss office.