Corby Distilleries has delivered a 37% increase in its third quarter net earnings, despite a fall in operating revenues, which the company said was in line with its expectations.

Corby said net earnings increased by 37% to C$5.9m (US$5.88m), for the three month period ended March 31, 2008, compared to the same quarter last year. Operating revenue was $33.0m, $0.4 million less than the same quarter last year because of the existence of some one-time items in the prior period.

In a statement, the company added that the decline of the US dollar and UK pound had an adverse impact on the company's international business, resulting in a foreign exchange impact of $0.4m. Excluding such items, operating revenue increased by $1.9m, or 6%, compared to the same period last year.

Basic earnings per share amounted to $0.91 for the nine month period, compared to $0.83 for the same period last year.

For the nine-month period, the company reported a $6.5m, or 19%, increase in EBITDA over the same period last year.

"As with each of the previous two quarters, our underlying revenue and profit growth for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 continues to validate our strategy of value growth through focus on premium brands", said Con Constandis, Corby's president and chief executive officer.

Corby's flagship brand, Wiser's Canadian whisky, experienced a year-to-date retail volume increase of 5% with retail value growing by 8%.

Polar Ice vodka, now the third-largest vodka brand in Canada, experienced year-to-date retail volume growth of 3% and retail value grew by 5%.

However, on a year-to-date basis, the Lamb's rum brand experienced a 4% decline in retail volume while retail value declined 3%. The decline in Lamb's rum retail sales performance during both the three and nine months is mainly the result of competitive pricing pressures, particularly in the Ontario market, the company said.

The Seagram's Coolers brand achieved retail volume growth of 5% and retail value growth of 11% for the nine months.

The company's board of directors declared a dividend of $0.14 per share payable on 16 June 2008.