Stock Spirits sales rise as Polish business stabilisesBy Nicola Carruthers
Stabilisation in the Polish market boosted the revenues of Central and Eastern European producer Stock Spirits in 2017, but the group’s profit more than halved.
In the year to 31 December 2017, the firm’s revenue increased by 5.2% €274.6 million (US$341.1m). Total sales volume grew by 6.5% to 13.1m nine-litre cases.
However, profit was reported at €11.3m (US$14m), down from €28.4m (US$35.2m) in 2016, following “exceptional charges” involving Italian business damages of €14.9m and Polish deferred tax of €4.7m (US$5.8m).
Stock Spirits is facing “continuing challenges” in Italy that have affected its vodka-based liqueur brand Keglevich.
In 2017, Stock Spirits moved into the Irish whiskey category with the purchase of a 25% stake in Dublin Liberties Distillery.
Last year, the group also established new distribution agreements with Beam Suntory in the Czech and Slovakia market, and with Beluga Group in Croatia and Bosnia.
In addition, the company launched Black Fox herbal bitters in the Czech market, and developed new flavours for the Saska liqueur range in Poland.
Mirek Stachowicz, chief executive officer, said: “2017 was a year of stabilisation for Stock Spirits, and one in which we embedded the significant changes accomplished in 2016.
“Turning around the performance in our largest market, Poland, was the group’s top priority during the year and, through a combination of strategic investment, realigned pricing and numerous other operational initiatives, we believe that the business has now stabilised.
“As a result, we are delighted to be reporting today that we have delivered growth in volume, revenue, market share, profitability and cashflow across the group during the year.
“In addition, a strategic review undertaken during the year has made it clear that there is a greater need than ever before to focus on our brands in order to keep pace with the changing needs and tastes of our end consumers.
“As a result, continuing to premiumise our brands, becoming more relevant to millennials, investing in digital marketing, and carrying out strategic M&A, are all areas of priority. This renewed focus, as well as the improvements that we are making across all areas of our operations, mean that we continue to feel well positioned to achieve sustainable long-term growth.”