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Stock Spirits release AGM 2020 trading statement

Stock Spirits release AGM 2020 trading statement

Stock Spirits Group PLC ("Stock Spirits", "Stock" or the "Company"), a leading producer of  branded spirits and liqueurs in Europe, issues a trading update for the period from 1 October 2019 to 6 February 2020, ahead of its AGM today.

We are on track for the year as a whole.  As anticipated, with effect from 1 January 2020, there was a 10% increase in spirits excise tax in Poland, and a 13.2% increase in spirits excise tax in the Czech Republic. As a result, and as expected, our businesses in both markets experienced exceptionally strong demand from our customers as they built up inventory in the run up to these changes being implemented. Overall, the performance in both markets to date has therefore been significantly ahead of the same period last year although, based on previous experience of such changes, we expect the current quarter will see some consequential impact from the strong first-quarter.

Poland
In Q11 the total vodka market recorded an increase in value (+4.8%) and an increase in volume (+2.3%) versus Q1 last year2, with growth from both the flavoured and clear vodka segments.  

December 2019 was Stock’s 32nd consecutive month of volume share growth, and the 28th consecutive month of value share growth versus the equivalent month the previous year5. This has been achieved in a pricing environment which remains very competitive. Value market share at the end of December 2019 (29.7% MAT) was ahead of the previous year (27.9% MAT)2.

Czech Republic
The total spirits market grew in value (+6.4%) and volume (+4.9%) during Q13.

Stock's market share remained stable, with value market share at the end of December 2019 (33.8% MAT) broadly flat on the previous year (34.1% MAT)3.

Italy
The categories in which Stock operates all declined slightly in Q14 versus Q1 last year. However, Stock grew market share in brandy, clear vodka and flavoured vodka, maintaining stable value share (6.8% MAT at the end of December 2019 versus 7.1% MAT at the end of December 2018)4

We are pleased to announce that Stock recently won the tender for Beam Suntory distribution rights in Italy and expects to commence distribution in April 2020, subject to the negotiation of the final agreement.  The acquisition of Distillerie Franciacorta has provided us with enhanced access to key distribution channels and consumption occasions, and this has been instrumental to winning the tender for Beam Suntory’s world-class premium spirits portfolio. 

Taxation 
As previously reported, our Polish subsidiary appealed an Assessment in respect of its 2013 Corporate Income Tax Return to the District Administrative Court. The court hearing took place on 28 January 2020 and the court verdict is expected to be published by the end of February 2020. Based on advice from our taxation and legal advisors, we continue to consider it likely that our appeals process will ultimately be successful and our position will be upheld.  In January 2020, the Polish Tax Authority commenced an audit of our Polish subsidiary’s 2014 Corporate Income Tax return, which is currently in its early stages.

We are monitoring the recently proposed additional tax on small format pack sizes (less than 300ml) of alcohol in Poland, which is expected to receive a first reading in the Polish parliament shortly. At this stage it is too early to identify accurately or with sufficient certainty the likely impact or any response that we may make. We are already considering a range of potential commercial and operational actions that we could take in response to manage or mitigate the situation, including legal action under EU law.

Change to Remuneration Committee Chair
John Nicolson steps down today as Chair of the Remuneration Committee and is replaced by Kate Allum. Mr Nicolson will remain a member of the Committee.

Membership of the other Committees remains unchanged. 

Notice of results
The Company will announce its interim results on Wednesday 13 May 2020.  

Sources:
1. First quarter of financial year from 1 October 2019-31 December 2019
2. Nielsen, total Poland, total off trade, total vodka, to end December 2019
3. Nielsen, total Czech Republic, total off trade, total spirits, to end December 2019
4. IRI, total Italy, total modern trade, total spirits, to end December 2019 N.B. Shares for TY and LY include grappa and Stock Italia’s Franciacorta and Julia grappa ranges.
5. Nielsen, total Poland, total off trade, total vodka, % volume share in relevant month versus same month last year to end December 2019.
6. The signing of agreement for the acquisition of Distillerie Franciacorta was announced on 31 January 2019

For further information:-

Stock Spirits Group:
Paul Bal
+44 (0) 1628 648 500

Powerscourt
Rob Greening
Lisa Kavanagh
+44 (0) 207 250 1446
stockspirits@powerscourt-group.com

Investors can also address any query to investorqueries@stockspirits.com.

About Stock Spirits Group
Stock Spirits is one of Europe’s leading branded spirits and liqueurs businesses, and offers a portfolio of products that are rooted in local and regional heritage. With core operations in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, Stock also exports to more than 50 other countries worldwide. Global sales volumes currently total over 125 million litres per year. 

Stock has production facilities in Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy and its core brands include products made to long-established recipes such as Stock 84 brandy, Fernet Stock bitters and Limoncè, as well as more recent creations like Stock Prestige and Żołᶏdkowa de Luxe vodkas.

Stock is listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. For the year ended 30 September 2019 it delivered total revenue of €312.4 million and operating profit before exceptional items of €53.9 million.

For further information, please visit www.stockspirits.com.

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

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Stock Spirits release AGM 2020 trading statement