The Spanish wine and brandy company, Gonzalez Byass, has reported a post-tax profit of €7.4m ($8.01m) for the fiscal year to the end of August 2002, representing a rise of 20.5% from the previous fiscal year.

Operating profit at the company, famed for its Tio Pepe sherry brand, stood at €16.5m ($17.86m) for the 2001/2002 fiscal year, compared with €12m ($13m) for the previous year. Sales rose by 17% to €193.8m ($209.81m), while net revenues increased by 25.6% to €147.4m ($159.58m).

Gonzalez Byass has also announced that it is planning to begin producing wine in the Catalan wine region of Penedes in northeastern Spain.

The company's president, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, said it would be opening a winery at Sant Sadurni d'Anoia during the 2002/2003 fiscal year. The winery will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 cases. Gonzalez Byass already has vineyards in the region for the production of Cava sparkling wine.