Cooley Distillery, the Irish distiller, has shelved pans to flaot on the UK's AIM market for at least a year, despite conducting due dilegenve about four weeks ago, the Irish Independent reported today.

The newspaper said the company blamed the postponement on poor sales in France and Germany, as well as the 20% slide in whiskey sales at home.

Sales in France, which make up about 40% of Cooley's output, have fallen by 8% since the start of the year, a drop blamed on the introduction of new drink drive laws.

And, an increase in excise duty two years ago has led to a 20% slide in spirits sales at home.

Cooley had planned to float on London's AIM market at the equivalent of about €2 a share, a price which would have given it a market capitalisation of €20m.