Sunday 15 January 2017 3:26 pm

Stock Spirits row continues as investor slams "disdainful" treatment of shareholders

Stock Spirits, a London-listed producer of Polish vodka, has been criticised by a prominent shareholder for the board’s “disdainful” treatment of investors.

Luis Amaral, who owns a 9.7 per cent stake in the company, said there had been a lack of transparency in dealings with shareholders. He cited the cancellation of a planned investor day and the failure to disclose Christmas sales figures as examples of Stock’s poor conduct.

The Portuguese billionaire, who owns leading Polish cash-and-carry Eurocash, took the company’s senior executives to task last year over flagging operations in Poland, leading to the “early retirement” of then chief executive Christ Heath.

In a statement issued through Western Gate Private Investments, Amaral condemned the lack of updates on the group’s “root and branch” strategic review of business in Poland.

He said: “instead of being open with investors on how they are performing against those plans, we get a continuing lack of transparency. We believe that the Board must address the disdainful way that investors and shareholders in this company continue to be treated.”

Stock has a significant share of the market in Central Europe,and is the leading flavoured vodka producer in Poland. However, performance in Poland declined in 2015 and the company suffered a 22.3 per cent drop to €41.7m in overall operating profits.

The group is expected to release 2016 results in March this year, but chose not to publish a trading update for the third quarter.