Central European Distribution Corporation has seen profits soar in its first quarter, according to figures released today (1 May).

The US-based company, which operates primarily in Eastern Europe, said that comparable net profit in the three months to the end of March leapt, against the corresponding period a year earlier, reaching US$18.5m. In the corresponding quarter in 2007, the company had posted a net loss of $5.2m.

On a comparable basis, net income increased by 63% totalled $12.7m, compared to $7.8m for the same period in 2007.

Net sales in the period were up by 37% at $313.6m, with operating income increasing similarly, by 35% to $25.5m.

The company credited the strong performance to the "continued expansion of higher-margin branded sales coupled with strong economic growth in our markets".

Company president and CEO, William Carey, said: "Two areas of our business that have been positively impacted by the appreciating Polish Zloty have been declining raw spirit costs in the first quarter and growing margins in our import portfolio."

CEDC is subsequently raising its full year net sales guidance from between $1.42bn and $1.52bn to between $1.47 and $1.57bn. Next year, CEDC said, net sales are expected to hit between $1.70bn and $1.80bn.

CEDC is the largest vodka producer in Poland, owning the Absolwent, Zubrowka, Bols and Soplica brands. Last month, the company closed its acquisition of an 85% stake in Copecresto Enterprises Limited, which owns the Parliament vodka trademarks in Russia and abroad.