Kofola begins trading on Prague bourse

Photo: Martin Strachoň, CC BY-SA 3.0

The popular Czech beverage maker Kofola went public on Wednesday, December 2nd, with trading launching on the Prague Stock Exchange. Within a week’s time, the trading of Kofola shares will begin also in Warsaw. With interest rates at record lows and equity funds reporting surplus cash, investor interest on the regulated market is expected to be high.

Photo: Martin Strachoň,  CC BY-SA 3.0
The Kofola brand soft drink was revived by the Samaras family and has become one of the big success stories of the post-1989 era – a challenger to the most famous of international brands. Their marketing and TV spots are often memorable and clever, aimed at a hip and younger market. The slogan Když ji miluješ, není co řešit – If you love her there is nothing to question – was particularly catchy. TV spots often centre on teenage couples, summer, and a touch of nostalgia through the prism of 2015. Other campaigns have been wackier but also successful, featuring, for example, a talking dog with an apparent speech impediment mispronouncing the beverage as ‘Fofola’.

Ahead of Wednesday's stock market launch, Kofola Ceskoslovensko’s board of directors announced the offer price for Kofola stock had been set at 510 crowns; with 1.5 million shares, including 275,000 new shares from a share capital increase, being available. The new shares were underwritten by Erste Group Bank AG, Vienna. The amount of shares offered in the free float comes to around seven percent, FIO Banka reported. The capital raised, will then be channelled into new development projects and the possible acquisition of brands, for example in Poland or the Balkans, according to Hospodářské noviny.

Trading began on December 2nd, and the 275,000 will be formally admitted to trading on the Prague Stock Exchange a day later. Trading of the company’s shares on the Warsaw Stock Exchange is expected to begin on December 9. On the PSE, shares by mid-day on Wednesday were up, trading at around 519 crowns.

Prague bourse CEO Petr Koblic was quoted by the Prague Post as saying he expects Kofola to rank among the top 10 companies traded on the Prague Stock Exchange.

The beverage company has gone from strength to strength: the sales of Kofola Holding in the first three quarters of this year grew by 16.3 percent on the year to 5.56 billion crowns - the group’s best result. Kofola employs 2,300 people, 700 of them in the Czech Republic. The product portfolio includes fruit drinks, energy drinks such as Semtex and beverages like Chito, Top Topic and Citro Cola.