• FY net profits fall 70% to GBP362,000 (US$554,000) 
  • Net sales slip 54% to GBP3m 
  • Operating profits down 71% to GBP473,000
  • Profits, sales hit by 2013 demerger with Hunter Laing & Co
The company has launched new brands this year

The company has launched new brands this year

Douglas Laing & Co has posted an expected sharp fall in full-year profits and sales after a demerger that halved the Scotch whisky maker's size.

Net profits fell by 70% to GBP362,000 (US$554,000) in the 11 months to March last year, the company said last week. Net sales were down 54% to GBP3m in the same period while operating profits decreased by 71% to GBP473,000.

The performance was also affected by different accounting periods because of the demerger, which meant the latest 11-month FY period was compared to a 13-month period in 2012/13.

Douglas Laing & Co spilt on 30 April 2013 into a rump company and the separate Hunter Laing & Co, with both companies retaining about an equal share of whisky stock. Fred Laing, Douglas Laing & Co's CEO, continues to run the company his father founded in 1948, while his brother Stewart leads Hunter Laing & Co.

Commenting on the latest results, Fred Laing said the company has taken “one step back to go two or three steps forward”. Laing said the performance for the past eight months show sales are 43% up on the same period last year and gross margins have increased. The company has also released two new core brands - Old Particular and Scallywag - to go with its existing Big Peat Islay malt.

“Ever more stock is being laid down and new brands with new distributor partners are already in place or scheduled,” Laing said. “So with our combination of experience and enthusiasm we look forward to a really positive future of sustained, sensible growth”.

In September, Douglas Laing & Co launched the Highland “vatted” malt Timorous Beastie into the UK to sit alongside its other regional malts.