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Stock Spirits Group 2011 Full Year Results

Another strong performance in a challenging market.

Stock Spirits Group (SSG or the Group), Central Europe’s leading branded spirits and liqueurs business, is pleased to announce its full year results for the twelve months ended 31st December 2011.

Highlights:-

Profit growth against tough market backdrop

  • Record EBITDA, with increase of 4% to €63.9m on a like-for-like basis (2010: €61.7*m); 6% EBITDA growth on a constant currency basis
  • Revenue €295.1m just slightly down on a like-for-like basis (2010: €301.9*m)
  • Underlying growth in EBITDA margin and 13% growth in margin per litre
  • Strong cash flow generated

*restated

Margins improved in Poland and market leading positions maintained in key markets

  • Retained vodka market leadership in Poland with 34% market share
  • Strengthened market leadership position in Czech Republic, with overall share growth to 40% (2010: 38%)
  • Margins improved in Poland to offset market volume decline and cost increases, through focus on profitable products, selective price increases and a better marketing mix
  • Grew market share in Italy within a very challenging market

Significant brand & NPD investment during the year to continue portfolio expansion

  • Meeting consumer demand for new flavoured vodkas through strong growth in Lubelska, including the highly successful launch of the blackcurrant variant and recently launched grapefruit flavour and Lubelska Three Grain clear
  • Strengthened the Zoladkowa de Luxe brand franchise with the innovative and successful launch of Zoladkowa Jeczmienna (Barley) clear vodka in Poland
  • Revitalised the bitters market in Czech Republic and Slovakia, returning the number one category to growth as a result of the launch of the hugely successful Fernet Stock Z Generation
  • Refocused marketing strategy to deliver over 20% growth on Gran Gala in the USA

Successfully refinanced banking facilities, strengthening financial position

  • Secured new facilities, which were substantially oversubscribed despite the credit squeeze, reflecting great confidence in the quality of the business
  • The new facilities consist of a €220m facility, including funding for acquisitions
  • Very strong year end cash position

Remain focused on delivering Group growth in 2012

  • Market conditions remain challenging across central Europe; however we are starting to see some signs of improvement in the Polish market
  • Announcing today an agreement with Pinnacle Drinks Partnership to distribute select brands in the UK and Ireland for the first time
  • The SSG Board is confident the Group is well positioned and funded for future growth:
    • We will continue to invest in growing current market leading brands & NPD
    • There are significant opportunities for organic and acquisitive growth, and expansion into new or underdeveloped markets

Chris Heath, Chief Executive Officer of Stock Spirits Group said:

“Against a very challenging market backdrop, I am delighted that we have been able to deliver another very strong set of results in 2011, continuing our unbroken record of profit growth each year. Faced with falling market volumes and significant input cost increases, it is important that we were well positioned to capitalise on the strength of our brands, taking the lead on market pricing and managing our product and marketing mix to deliver margin growth.

“We are particularly pleased to have maintained, and in some cases extended, the leading positions of most of our core brands in our key markets and have continued with our successful track record of launching new products. We will continue to focus on our marketing mix, maintaining our positive stance on pricing and leading the market with the development of our current and new brands.

“Despite the continued challenging market conditions, we remain confident that the Group is well placed to take advantage of opportunities to grow the business further in 2012.”

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