Scotch Malt Whisky Society membership rises to 35k

Edinburgh-based Artisanal Spirits Company plc (ASC), owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), said on Tuesday the society’s global membership growth, which it considers a leading indicator of future revenue growth, is now slightly ahead of management expectations.

Artisanal chair Mark Hunter told the firm’s AGM that membership is up 25% year-on-year to just over 35,000.

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 75p, giving it a current stock market value of about £52 million.

Hunter told the AGM: “The board is pleased to confirm that the positive momentum in the business referred to in the preliminary results announcement released in March has continued, with revenue growth in the period to April remaining above 30% year-on-year.

“Global membership growth, a leading indicator of future revenue growth, is now slightly ahead of management expectations, up over 6% in the period and 25% year-on-year to just over 35,000 …

“Good progress has been made at, our new multi-purpose supply chain facility at Masterton Bond.

“Cask racking has now largely been installed with main contractors appointed and due to commence work this month.

“We continue to anticipate that the site will become fully operational in the second half of the year and be a contributor to improving the already strong margins of the business …

“Year on year growth of over 30% in part reflects cycling over low Q1-21 sales in UK Venues & Europe and we remain cognisant that comparative performance figures will get tougher in the second half of the year.

“Furthermore, the Chinese government’s zero tolerance approach to managing Covid-19 has presented additional challenges for our business in that territory in the current quarter.

“However, we continue to make encouraging progress against our strategy and the group remains on course to deliver strong revenue growth for the full year in line with current consensus market expectations …”

Artisanal said it considers that current consensus market expectations for the year ending December 31, 2022, are revenues of £21.6 million.