In the first three quarters of this year, Kofola Group increased sales by 16.3% to EUR 203 million, which is the best result in the Group history. All other key financial indicators have increased as well. Gross margin increased by 27.2%, EBITDA increased by 34.6%, EBIT by 53.7%. The economic activities were most influenced by the acquisition of Slovenian brand Radenska and distribution of Rauch beverages. The company was successful in markets in the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, sales in Poland decreased slightly.
Sales of soft drinks in the Czech Republic grew by 15.6%, in the Slovak Republic by 13.8%. Overall revenue growth was significantly supported by the acquisition of the Slovenian company Radenska in March of this year. Also, UGO bars with fresh fruit and vegetable juices were successful. Those have increased year on year sales by 65%. Positive effect on the company's economy also had direct distribution of beverages in the Czech Republic implemented by the Group in the past year. On the Polish market, sales decreased slightly.
"Naturally, we are very pleased with the best result for the entire existence of the Group, but we are much more interested in what we can do for the future of the company. In recent months, we have done a lot of work, which should be reflected in the future. Formal headquarters are moved from Warsaw to Ostrava, we opened a new pilot restaurant NAGRILU in Prague, Jindřišská street, the team was successful in the Kofola brand marketing campaign and we have done a lot of work on the newly acquired Radenska brand, which is reflected in revenues", Jannis Samaras, CEO of Kofola summarizes essential moments in the life of the company.
In the last two years, Kofola Group has grown substantially. It complemented its portfolio with new still missing brands and significantly strengthened its role as a distributor of soft drinks. In the Czech and Slovak Republics, for example, the company began exclusively distributing the Austrian company Rauch juices, as well as premium mineral water of the brands Evian and Badoit or traditional mineral water Vincentka from the healing source.
In connection with the increased demand for healthier drinks, the Group dramatically reshaped market in recent years. To its customers, it offered UGO 100% fruit and vegetable drinks, and also joined a network of bars with UGO and Mangaloo fresh juices. With this step, the company has become the UGO brand largest operator of bars with fresh juices in Central Europe.
In recent years, in addition to innovations, the Group bet on growth through acquisitions. After the March acquisition of the Slovenian brand of mineral water Radenska, in June, the Group representatives signed next contract. Through this contract, the company will own 40% interest in the second largest producer of soft drinks in the Slovak Republic, Water Holding Group. It is especially known by the brands of mineral water Budiš, Zlatá studňa, Gemerka, Fatra, Fatra or Šofokola cola drinks. To complete the transaction and acquire the minority interest in Water Holding, only approval of the transaction by the Slovak antitrust office is needed.
Note: All profit and loss account values are adjusted for one-off transactions and converted from PLN to CZK based on average exchange rate for 1 January 2015 to 30 September 2015 (1 EUR = 4.1585 PLN).