The Edrington Group released its full-year results late last week

The Edrington Group released its full-year results late last week

The Edrington Group has reported double digit rises in turnover and profit before tax for its full year on the back of strong performances from its leading brands.

However the Scotch company's CEO, Ian Curle, warned that the board remained cautious in the medium term due to the current global financial landscape.

Group turnover over the 12 months to the end of March was up by 11.5% to GBP468.3m (US$721.8m). Profits before tax, excluding exceptional items, rose by 25.1% to GBP118.6m with shareholders´ earnings, again excluding exceptional items, up by 30.7% to GBP54.1m. The company's dividend increased by 25% to GBP0.2325.

"I am pleased to report that the company grew shareholders' earnings, reduced borrowings and further improved its strategic position during the year," said Curle.

"Throughout the year we have continued to invest and develop our portfolio spirits brands, comprising The Famous Grouse, The Macallan, Brugal golden rum, Highland Park and Cutty Sark. We have maintained our focus on premiumisation, quality and service, whilst seeking to provide value to the trade and our customers. This strategy is bearing fruit as we continue to outperform the category in our key markets.

"We remain confident about the long-term growth prospects for premium authentic spirits brands, however, the board remains cautious in its view of trading prospects in the short to medium term, due to challenging market conditions, especially in Europe."

The company warned that, in Europe, the UK, Spain, Greece and Portugal have been more affected than other markets by the downturn and the outlook "remains fragile against a backdrop of high unemployment and substantial government debt".

Despite these difficult market conditions, Edrington said that it has protected the market share of its whisky brands and grown sales of Brugal in Spain, its main export territory.

In the US, after an early setback driven by trade de-stocking and a shift in consumption to the off-trade, the company said that the spirits category is showing "encouraging signs" and trading conditions continue to improve.

"In spite of these challenges, our whisky brands have outperformed the market during the year and shown growth on the previous year," Edrington added.

"Asia has been less affected by the economic downturn with GDP growth continuing in many of the markets. Our premium brands continue to enjoy growth and we are optimistic about the long-term prospects in this region."