Stock Spirits in profit warning as sales slump

Ollie Gordon
STOCK Spirits, the central European-focused spirits producer, saw its share price plummet 25 per cent yesterday as the company warned its full-year profits could be between “€5m (£3.9m) and €10m below expectations”.

The UK-headquartered company pointed to a 15 per cent rise in Polish excise duties and aggressive pricing from competitors as reasons for the drop-off. The company said in a statement that the latter half of the third quarter had been a “very tough trading period”.

Its woes puts the spotlight on STJ Advisors – the firm that advised Stock Spirits on its listing on the London Stock Exchange in October last year. STJ, which was set up by former Nomura banker John St John in 2008, has advised on the listings of a number of high-profile flops this year, including eDreams, Saga and Card Factory.

The capital markets advisory firm has attracted business by promising to sell assets at premium prices. But it has received criticism from both investment bankers and fund managers, who accuse the company of encouraging sellers to price too high and consequently damaging appetite for new issues as a whole.

By contrast, Stock Spirits was meant to represent one of STJ’s float successes in recent times. Following last year’s float, the company’s share price rose 34 per cent after it signed lucrative distribution deals with Beam Suntory and Diageo. With its fortunes now heading south, it spells bad news for both the company’s revenues for the year and also for STJ’s track record.

STJ’s John St John declined to comment when contacted by City A.M.