Blavod Extreme Spirits has reversed its losses in the first six months of its current fiscal year.

The UK-based company, which owns Blavod Black vodka and the intellectual property rights for the Blackwood's gin and vodka brands, said yesterday (24 November) that operating profit for the six months to the end of September came in at GBP53,000 (US$79,873), a turnaround from an operating loss in the corresponding period a year ago of GBP83,000.

The healthy performance came on the back of a 36% increase in sales, which totalled GBP2.5m.

Net profit came in at GBP43,000, a strong improvement on the GBP1.3m losses posted a year ago.

Sales grew across all brands in both UK and export markets, the company said, with Blavod Black Vodka growing by 11%. While the export business "flourished", UK volumes were held back because the brand "was absent temporarily from the shelves of one major customer". Speaking to just-drinks today, Blavod Extreme's managing director, Richard Ambler, declined to comment on who the customer was, but confirmed that the brand was now back on the retailer's shelves after an absence of nine months.

"It would ... be rash to forecast that current economic conditions will not affect levels of demand or put pressure on margins in due course," said company chairman Colin Campbell. "The performance, in what is traditionally the weaker half of the year would, in more congenial economic times, justify the recruitment of people to develop our potential and substantially increased investment in advertising and promotion. However, given the current environment, we believe it is more appropriate for the group to continue to maintain a cautious approach and strict control of all costs.

"We shall thus be well-placed for faster expansion when the economic climate improves."

In September last year, Blavod Extreme sold off its loss-making US business to then-CEO Jeff Hopmayer for US$800,000. Hopmayer's Black Diamond company also assumed liability for US$3.2m-worth of debt owed by the unit.