Estonian spirits company AS Liviko has reported market share growth and an increase in full-year sales, boosted by a rise in exports.

Net sales rose by 32% to reach EUR118m (US$160.5m) during 2008, compared to 2007, AS Liviko said late last week.

The total sales of AS Liviko's own products were 12,7 million litres in 2008. Of them, three million litres were exported - 31% more than the previous year.

"Notwithstanding the general economic situation in Baltic countries and an increase in alcohol excise tax that caused a 10-15% decline at local alcohol markets, the AS Liviko group has managed to expand its market share," said company chairman Janek Kalvi.

"During 2008, preconditions for strengthening our position in the Baltic market were created at each of the companies of the AS Liviko group. Now we can say that the results of the group's activities have been very successful."

The company's Latvian subsidiary SIA Liviko saw sales increase by 8% and its Lithuanian subsidiary Liviko UAB by 41%.

"Considering the rapid deterioration of economic environment in Latvia in the second half of 2008, the overall results of the year were a success for Liviko SIA, since we were able to enlarge our market share by successfully selling, among other things­, some alcohol brands specifically designed for the Latvian market," said Kalvi.

In 2008, sales of the company's Vana Tallinn liquor grew by 13%, and the export of Viru Valge vodka, by 5%.