Burn Stewart Distillers has posted a strong set of results for last year.

The Scotch whisky producer and brand owner said yesterday (16 October) that sales in the 12-month period leapt by 33% on the corresponding period a year earlier, reaching GBP54m (US$109.8m). Operating profit, meanwhile, made a more impressive climb to GBP2.5m, compared to GBP0.4m in 2005.

Burn Stewart credited last year's performance to sustained marketing investment in its core brands of Scottish Leader, Black Bottle and Bunnahabhain. Each brand increased volume and market share in their respective key markets, the company said, with Scottish Leader producing double-digit growth in Taiwan, South Africa and parts of Eastern Europe.

The company became part of Trinidad-based CL WorldBrands in early 2003, joining Angostura and Hine Cognac in the CL portfolio. The group also owns a number of in-market distribution companies.

"It is extremely pleasing to see Burn Stewart return to profitability," said company managing director Fraser Thornton. "The improved performance of the business justifies the strategy to invest in our brands and reflects hard work by all our people. The investment in both marketing and infrastructure will continue thanks to our very committed shareholder CL Financial.

"The key indicators for the future of the Scotch industry are very positive at the moment and Burn Stewart can look forward to a period of continued growth".