Cruzan International has posted its figures for its third quarter and the nine months to 30 June.

The rum, brandy and wine supplier said yesterday (15 August) that net sales for the three-month period rose slightly to US27.79m from US$25.48m in the corresponding quarter a year earlier. Gross profit picked up from US$7.96m to US$8.95m. Net loss was flat, however, at US$256,238, or US$0.04 per diluted share, from US$224,506, or US$0.04 per share in the same quarter in 2004.

For the fiscal nine months, net sales increased to US$77.49m, compared with US$69.96m a year earlier. Gross profit increased to US$25.89m against US$23.87m in the same period last year, while nine-month net loss was US$178,062, or US$0.03 per diluted share, compared with net income of US$1.74m, or US$0.30 per diluted share, one year ago.

In a statement, Jay S. Maltby, chairman and chief executive officer said: "Our strong top-line sales and gross profit growth during the past nine months was primarily due to our focus on our growing premium brands business. Although operating income has declined in the nine-month period due to our continuing investment in building the Cruzan Rum brand, we saw operating income improve in the third quarter.

"Sales in our bulk alcohol and vinegar and cooking wine segments have also improved, although we are still experiencing pressure on margins as we continue to realise increased energy and raw material costs and resistance to price increases from customers in these business segments. Sales in our bottling operations segment appear to have stabilised, and this, coupled with the full implementation of our bottling rationalisation plan makes us believe that we will see improvement in operating income of our bottling operations in future quarters."