(Adds details, background, analyst comments)
By Esha Vaish
April 8 Stock Spirits Group's
bookrunner said the company's biggest shareholder, Oaktree
Capital Management, has sold its 36.8 percent stake
in the largest vodka producer in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The private equity firm exited recently-listed Stock Spirits
through a placing of 72.67 million shares at 275 pence per
share, JP Morgan Securities Plc said on Tuesday.
The price was at an 11 percent discount to the Stock
Spirits' Monday close on the London Stock Exchange.
Shares in the company, which makes the high-end Polish vodka
Czysta de Luxe, fell to 275.25 on Tuesday morning and were among
the top percentage losers on the exchange.
The placement was widely expected, but came a bit in
advance, Wood & Co Financial Services analyst Erik Hegedus told
Reuters. "I think they broke the lock-up agreement by some two
Oaktree Capital and some managers of Stock Spirit sold 55
percent stake in the company at 235 pence during its London
listing last October.
The private equity firm said last week joint-bookrunners JP
Morgan Cazenove and Nomura had waived the lock-up period agreed
upon during the initial public offering. The lock-up was due to
expire on April 22.
Oaktree had tried to sell Stock Spirit in 2011 and pursued a
possible deal with the world's biggest spirits group Diageo Plc
Stock Spirits was formed in 2007 when Oaktree merged Czech
Republic-based Eckes & Stock with Poland's largest spirit
company Polmos Lublin, creating one of the biggest vodka makers
in eastern Europe.
"The positive thing is it makes the shares more liquid. It
takes away the question of people saying what they (Oaktree) are
going to do with their stake", Chris Wickham of Oriel Securities
Shares in Stock Spirit were down 8 percent at 282.50 pence
at 0940 GMT.
The company's Prague-traded shares were down 6.6
percent at 96.25 Czech crowns.
(Additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by