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Stock Spirits trading in line with expectations for Q1

Published:  13 May, 2014

Central and Eastern European spirits producer Stock Spirits says it is trading in line with expectations for the first quarter of 2014.

The group, which is headquartered in Buckinghamshire, UK, said that trading and cashflow were in line with management expectations.

Highlights include completion of project Polar - supplying branded fridges in Poland, as well as starting exclusive distribution of Diageo brands in the Czech Republic from January on.

The group's former owner, Oaktree Capital, sold its outstanding stake of 72 million shares in April for £202 million though a market placing.

Chris Heath, chief executive of Stock Spirits Group, said: "Stock has started the year well and trading in the first quarter is in line with management expectations. We completed the second phase project Polar, the branded fridges project and there are now 20,000 in place, offering chilled vodka to consumers through the traditional trade in Poland. The distribution agreement with Diageo in the Czech Republic has started well.

"Following the excise duty increase on 1st January in Poland, overall spirits consumption has been negatively impacted as expected. Whilst this is broadly in line with our expectations, it is too early to tell what the longer term impact will be. However, we believe that Stock Spirits is well placed to take full advantage of the anticipated recovery when it happens and we expect to deliver full year results in line with management expectations."

The group's core markets are Poland, the Czech Republic and Italy. Together, these markets accounted for 92.9% of its 2012 revenue and 89.2% of its revenue for the first half of 2013.

Stock Spirits was formed in 2007 when former owners Oaktree merged Czech Republic-based Eckes & Stock with Poland's largest spirit company Polmos Lublin, creating one of the biggest vodka makers in eastern Europe.

Stock Spirits also operates two main production and bottling sites - in Lublin, Poland and in Plzen, Czech Republic - and a small production unit in Drietoma, Slovakia. It also has a distillery in Prádlo, Czech Republic, and an ethanol distillery plant in Rostock, Germany.