December 19, 2019 / 8:07 AM / in a month

Stock Spirits' investor demands special dividend

(Reuters) - Stock Spirits Group Plc’s (STCK.L) second-largest investor on Thursday urged the vodka maker to pay a special dividend and review its policies for capital allocation, mergers and acquisitions, and dividend.

Western Gate Private Investments, which has a 10% stake in the company, called for a special dividend of 0.1219 euro per share.

“Investors are currently stuck in the middle between a management team improving the operating performance of the business and a Board that is unwilling to return cash to patient investors and who have overseen a poor performance since the IPO,” the investor said.

The company’s shares have fallen 6% since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2013, widely underperforming the broader midcap index .FTMC which has risen about 40% in the same period.

Western Gate, which represents the private family office of Portuguese businessman Luis Amaral, has repeatedly sought to change Stock Spirits’ policies and management, having succeeded in ousting its chief executive officer more than three years ago.

In January this year, the firm had called on the maker of 1906, Stock Prestige and Vodka No.1 to remove its chairman and had raised questions about its growth prospects. M&A and dividend have been talking points for Western Gate in the past as well.

Stock Spirits did not immediately comment.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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