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Scotch Malt Whisky Society membership rises

Scotch whisky
Scotch Malt Whisky Society membership has grown

The Artisanal Spirits Company says Scotch Malt Whisky Society membership increased by 10% over the year ended 31 December and now exceeds 41,000 members.

Revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the year remain in line with guidance issued on 8 December, with revenue expected to be at the top end of £23m (plus 1%).

January trading remains in line with expectations, led by growth in China and contribution from Taiwan. This, combined with continued good momentum in the US, means that the group remains confident that it can continue to grow profitably with FY24 anticipated to deliver further revenue and EBITDA growth.

The acquisition of SCN in the US has now successfully completed and the group remains confident that SCN will make a positive contribution to EBITDA delivery in the current year FY24.

The Edinburgh-based group will publish its full year results on 27 March.


Bank shares sold

NatWest moved closer to returning to full private ownership after the UK government offloaded another tranches of shares in the bank.

The sale has cut the taxpayers’ shareholding to 33.56% from nearly 35%.

The Treasury’s plans to sell NatWest stock directly to the public as early as June got a boost from the bank’s 20% increase in pre-tax profits to £6.2 billion for 2023.

Shares in NatWest closed down 4.5p at 225p.


Elliott confirms £700m bid approach for Currys

China’s JD.com is said to have looked at a possible bid for UK electricals retailer Currys after it emerged the high street business had rejected a takeover bid from US activist investor Elliot worth 62p per share and valuing the company at £700m.

Elliott, which bought the UK bookstore chain Waterstones in 2018, said in a statement there was “no certainty that an offer will be made for Currys” or the terms on which any bid might be made. Elliott has until 16 March to make a firm bid.

Currys had been contacted by a number of private equity firms in recent months after it was forced to cut its dividend payout. Other bidders may appear.

Elliott’s and JD’s interest sent shares in Currys soaring 36.4%, or 17.12p, to 64.2p.

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