Central European Distribution Corporation has posted a leap in sales and profits for its first quarter.

The US-based company, which is also Poland's largest vodka producer, said yesterday (3 May) that net sales for the three-month period to 31 March rose by 27% year-on-year, coming in at US$190.1m. Unaudited net income, meanwhile, also increased, reaching US$7.8m or US$0.32 per fully diluted share, compared to US$4.6m (US$0.27 per share) a year earlier.

"We continue to see positive synergies from our newest acquisitions of Bols and Polmos Bialystok, as well as executing on one of our key management objectives of increasing our direct distribution share of our newly acquired vodka brands from 36% to 38%," said CEDC's CEO and president, Willian Carey.

"We are pleased to see the continuation of strong operating dynamics within the company evidenced by gross margins approaching 20% and continued focus on reducing overheads.

"We were able to see the new trade terms that became effective 1 December, 2005 take effect with a record first quarter cash flow of over US$10m comparing with first quarter 2005 even with an US$18.5m bond interest payment made in January."

The company subsequently confirmed its previously announced full-year 2006 guidance of net sales of between US$931 and US$956m and earnings per share of US$1.90 - US$2.10.