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Anora Q1 spirits sales grow 9%

Nordic drinks group Anora saw spirits sales rise by 9% during the first quarter of 2023, led by double-digit gains in international markets.

Koskenkorva Vodka is owned by Anora
Koskenkorva Vodka rose by double digits in Sweden during the first quarter of 2023

Anora total’s net sales for the first three months of 2023 climbed by 19.6% to €159.5 million (US$173.9m). It followed a 5.9% full-year net sales increase in 2022.

The company’s first quarter (Q1) sales were boosted by the acquisition of Globus Wine in July 2022, and increased sales volumes for the spirits and industrial segments.

However, unfavourable currency rates (NOK and SEK) and high input costs dragged down its comparable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to €7.9m (US$8.6m), a decrease of 39.2%.

Anora CEO Pekka Tennilä said: “I am pleased with our net sales development in Q1 showing organic growth despite the declining markets and unfavourable exchange rates.

“During Q1, we implemented the planned price increases to improve our gross margins. The full impact will be seen in Q2, as in Sweden the prices took effect only in March, while in Finland this occurred in April.

“Our operating costs increased mainly due to the timing of additional maintenance and IT activities in the first quarter. Additionally, travelling and marketing costs have increased since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.”

Spirits sales increased to €48.9m (US$53.3m), led by the Baltics and export markets, and the timing of Easter.

Anora said it had increased its market share and sales in all monopoly markets for its spirits business.

“Our no-and-low alcohol products in grocery retail had a very good start for the year with strong growth compared to last year,” Tennilä added.

Koskenkorva Vodka experienced double-digit growth in Sweden, where spirits net sales remained at the same level as last year.

Net sales of spirits in Norway dropped by 5% due to the weak currency rate. The group said sales were led by price increases and good sales volumes for liqueurs, aquavit and Koskenkorva.

In Finland, on-trade spirits sales increased ‘significantly’ compared to the first quarter of 2022 when pandemic restrictions were in place.

For 2023, Anora expects volumes in its monopoly markets to be ‘significantly lower’, while input costs are predicted to remain at a high level.

EBITDA is estimated to be between €80m–€90m (US$87m-US$98m) for 2023.

Tennilä said the company will implement a cost-cutting programme with the aim of saving €6m (US$6.5m) for the full year.

“The results of this programme, as well as the profitability improvement actions being implemented by Globus Wine, will be visible from Q2 onwards,” he continued.

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