Corby Distilleries, which holds the licence for Pernod Ricard drinks brands in Canada, has posted a drop in first quarter earnings.

Net earnings and earnings per share for the three months to the end of September were C$8.4m (US$7.97) and C$0.30, respectively, compared to C$9.8m and C$0.35 per share during the same period of the prior year.

Operating revenue decreased to C$41.1m versus C$46.1m in 2008.

Corby today (13 November) declared a dividend of C$0.14 per share payable on 15 December on Voting Class A Common Shares and Non-voting Class B Common Shares of the company to shareholders of record as at the close of business on 30 November 2009.

"While the global economy appears to be stabilizing, there is still uncertainty as to the sustainability and pace of any recovery" said Patrick O'Driscoll, president and CEO of Corby. "As a result, we expect fiscal 2010 to be challenging as we cycle against a strong first quarter and a reasonable first half performance in the prior year."

Net sales for the period decreased 11% to C$41.1m, versus C$46.1m during the corresponding period a year ago.

Corby said its strategy is to focus its investments and leverage the long-term growth potential of its key brands, while emphasising less on smaller and less profitable brands.

The company said it will continue to invest behind its brands to promote its premium offerings where it makes the most sense and drives the most value for shareholders.

For the full announcement, click here.