• Full-year restated sales slip by 4.1% to EUR467m (US$532.3m) in "normalisation" year
  • EBITDA for H2 2014 expected to match H1 figure of EUR1.9m
  • "We are now back in the wine and spirits industry race" - CEO
Belvedere described 2014 as a "normalisation" year

Belvedere described 2014 as a "normalisation" year

Belvédère has forecast a profitable future after releasing full-year sales for 2014 that were down by 4.1% on the prior year.

The French wine and spirits group said late last week that sales on a restated basis in the 12 months of 2014 came in at EUR466.9m. The restatement included a EUR47.3m write-off from abandoned contracts in 2013.

In organic terms, sales were down by 20.8%.

In its domestic market, Belvédère's William Peel blended Scotch brand - France's market leader - posted a 1.6% lift in volumes, with Sobieski vodka rising by 1.7%. Total net sales in France, however, were down by 3%, due to "the abandoning of non-profitable sales contracts".

In the company's second-largest market, Poland, Belvédère was the latest spirits firm to suffer from the excise duty rise on spirits at the start of the year - net sales tumbled by 19.7%, "particularly as Belvédère chose not to take part in the price war undertaken by its peers in order to protect its margins".

The US, Belvédère's fourth largest market behind Lithuania (where sales jumped by 25%), sales dipped by 5% mainly due to inventory clearance by distributors.

“Since May 2014 and my arrival, Belvédère has seen in-depth changes,” said CEO Jean-Noël Reynaud. “The new management committee and all of our teams have worked strenuously to normalise the group and put it back into operational shape.

“Belvédère is now an integrated group run in accordance with management best practices. Our brands’ performances prove that we are now back in the wine and spirits industry race. We are henceforth an agile multiregional group adapted to market constraints and owning high-performance brands, which will enable us to ensure our scale-up and the acceleration of our profitable growth.”

In December, Belvédère said it was to offload its production assets in Poland and strip down its portfolio as part of a new strategic plan to turn around falling sales.