Artisanal Spirits shares rise on first set of results

Shares of Edinburgh-based Artisanal Spirits Company plc (ASC), owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), rose as much as 7% on Tuesday after it reported its first set of results as a listed company, showing revenue increased 21% to £18.2 million, “comfortably ahead of market expectations.”

Artisanal reported 18% overall membership growth to more than 33,000 members at year end up, which it called a leading indicator of future revenue growth.

The company reported gross profit up 27% to £11.2 million for the 12 months to December 31, 2021, with a loss after tax of £3.4 million that included the impact of £900,000 of “exceptional” IPO costs.

The group’s net debt position improved to £5.2 million from £13.7 million “as a portion of the proceeds of the IPO fundraise were used to temporarily reduce group borrowings (to minimise interest costs).”

Post-period, Artisanal said it has made a strong start to the new financial year “with revenues ahead by over 30% year-on-year” and global membership of 34,200 at the end of February.

“With positive momentum in business, the group remains well placed to deliver another year of significant growth,” said the firm.

Artisanal joined the London Stock Exchange’s junior AIM market in June, 2021, with its shares priced at 112p, giving it a stock market value of £77.96 million.

However, the shares are currently trading around 80p, giving it a current stock market value of around £52 million.

Artisanal Spirits Company executive managing director David Ridley said: “Following what was an exceptional year for the Artisanal Spirits Company against a challenging backdrop, I am pleased to be able to present such a positive first set of results as a listed business, with strong growth in both sales and member numbers.

In the months since IPO to year end, we made excellent early progress in delivering against our strategic objectives; investing in, enhancing and optimising our operations to create a platform capable of delivering high, sustainable and ultimately profitable growth, always keeping the interests of our loyal SMWS members firmly at the centre of everything we do.

“This work behind the scenes will benefit the group and SMWS members for many years to come, and on behalf of the board I would like to thank all our colleagues for their efforts during the year to make it happen.

Moving into 2022, we have made an encouraging start to the new financial year, again from both a sales and member growth perspective.

“The outlook is positive, notwithstanding the inherent unpredictability of the pandemic and its effects, giving us confidence in our ability to continue our track record of delivering significant year-on-year growth, while remaining on course to deliver our ambition of doubling sales between 2020 and 2024.

Global macrotrends such as premiumisation continue unabated, and as we move away from the worst of Covid-19, we are ideally equipped to operate in a more hybrid world, straddling both on-line and in-person.

“While we have made an encouraging start to life as a listed company, we recognise there is no room for complacency.

“We will continue to meet challenges head on while vigorously pursuing our goal of growing and developing the group.

“This is being delivered by taking our proposition to a growing global community of whisky enthusiasts, offering the very highest quality crafted spirits & experiences and creating significant value for members and shareholders alike.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.