The Edrington Group has posted a slight lift in both sales and profits for its latest fiscal year.

The company, which owns brands including The Famous Grouse and The Macallan, said today (4 July) that sales in the 12 months to the end of March were up by 5.7% year-on-year to GBP278.5m (US$561m). Pre-tax profits also rose, by 6.8% to GBP68.9m.

The company toasted the performance of The Famous Grouse, with sales exceeding 3m cases for the first time in 2006/07. The Cutty Sark brand, however, saw its largest market, Spain, decline by around 6% last year, due to new social legislation and changing consumer tastes. The whisky faces "significant challenges as many of its key markets reach maturity," the company said.

"Our brand development strategy is bearing fruit as The Famous Grouse, The Macallan and Highland Park all continued to show strong growth, aided by a positive trading environment for Scotch whisky," said Ian Curle, Edrington's chief executive.

"Due to the strong performance of our brands and our confidence in their long term prospects, we plan to invest further in increased distillation and warehousing (at The Macallan estate on Speyside). The investment will take place over the next few years and demonstrates our commitment to support the anticipated growth of our business."

The group noted, however, that negative currency movements, mostly related to the US dollar, dampened performance to the tune of over GBP3m. "Whilst measures have been taken to mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on business performance, our results will continue to be affected as long as the dollar remains weak," the company noted.

A dividend of 15.7p was confirmed for the year, marking a 9% lift on the payment made to shareholders a year earlier.