Moet Hennessys Glenmorangie Co profits down in 09

Moet Hennessy's Glenmorangie Co profits down in '09

Moet Hennessy's Scotch whisky arm, Glenmorangie Company, saw profits tumble in 2009 following its decision to exit the market for blended Scotch.

Pre-tax profits for the 12 months to the end of December dropped to GBP12.7m (US$19.6m), compared to GBP39.3m in 2008, according to the latest accounts for the Glenmorangie Co.

Operating profits, including discontinued operations, fell to GBP14.5m versus GBP32.5m a year earlier, while net sales also declined, to GBP73.1m against almost GBP112.6m in 2008, according to accounts published this week by Companies House in the UK.

The Scotch whisky group blamed the performance on restructuring charges and lost business related to its decision to withdraw from bottled blended Scotch and focus on key single malt brands, such as Ardbeg and Glenmorangie.

The Moet Hennessy-owned group cut its workforce from 380 to 294 in 2009 and did not propose a dividend. 

Profits and sales for 2008 also reflected a "significant one-off gain" from the sale of bulk whisky stocks, as well as the sale of the Glen Moray distillery, no longer required by the company, the firm added.

Glenmorangie reiterated its confidence in its plan to focus on single malt sales.

"This long-term plan was developed in response to the increasing demand for premium single malt Scotch whisky brands in markets such as the US, Asia and continental Europe," said the firm.

"Our vision was, and remains, to build the presence of our highly successful, premium single malt whisky brands, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg."

The restructuring was accompanied by a "multi-million pound" investment in new facilities, including a bottling plant in Livingston, Scotland. Bottling was set to be transferred to the new facility in the third quarter of 2010, Glenmorangie added.

Moet Hennessy is 34%-owned by Diageo.