Marie Brizard full-year sales fall 6%By Nicola Carruthers
Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) has reported a 6% organic sales decrease for both its four quarter and full-year 2018.
For the year ended 31 December 2018, MBWS saw its organic sales drop 6.3% to €389 million (US$440m).
The company’s fourth quarter, which runs from 1 October to 31 December 2018, recorded a 6.2% decrease to €99.5m (US$112.6m).
For Q4, the Western Europe, Middle East and Africa (WEMEA) region saw its net sales drop by 14.6% to €24.3m (US$27.5m). Revenue was impacted by the decline in sales across the spirits sector in France during the first half of 2018 along with “social movements” in November and December.
The value of the spirits market fell by 3% (Nielsen figures) in Q4 with all of MBWS’s main categories “continuing to underperform the overall sector”.
The group said its underperformance was due to a drop in volumes, attributed to a “lower level of promotions” when compared to “intense promotional activity by competitors”, mainly in Scotch whisky and vodka.
Poland saw its sales grow 17.1% to €10.3m (US$11.6m) following a “progressive recovery from the proactive destocking in H1 2018”. The growth was also attributed to a net sales increase in the “modern trade” and distribution agreements signed in H2.
The new Lancut distillery in Poland is expected to begin operating in the coming weeks, MBWS also said.
In the Americas, net sales fell by 44.3% to €5.4m due to the US which “decreased sharply” with the destocking of Sobieski vodka in certain regional markets during the fourth quarter. Sales were also impacted by “pricing pressure” in the US vodka market during the holiday season and “overall pricing” in the category.
Net sales in the Asia Pacific cluster totalled €1.2m in Q4, a decrease of 34%. Distribution deals in Asia “have not enabled the group to meet its objectives”. As part of MBWS’s new strategic plan, a “new approach to the route-to-market” has been put forward.
Net sales for ‘other businesses’ were reported at €41.5m (US$47m), a decrease of 0.8%.
In a document published ahead of its AGM on 31 January, MBWS outlined the difficulties it has faced in recent months and put forward a rescue agreement that it will ask shareholders to approve.
The group has faced weakened market conditions in France and the US, and was hit by a “delay in executing [its] plan of corrective measures in Poland” – a key market where MBWS has long struggled.
The firm’s largest shareholder – French holding company La Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (COFEPP), which owns La Martiniquaise Bardinet – had agreed to offer a rescue investment of €37.7m (US$42.7m).
In the latest update, the principal option of the deal between MBWS and COFEPP was approved by 89% of voting shareholders.
Under the agreement, COFEFF will provide a minimum of €45m (US$51m) in new money to MBWS. A €25m (US$28.3m) bridge loan was granted by COFEPP to MBWS on 4 February 2019.
The operation is currently subject to authorisation from the French anti-trust authorities under conditions considered acceptable by COFEPP. A decision is expected to be made by the end of February 2019.