Kristall Moscow Distillery, one of Russia's largest alcoholic drinks makers, has seen net profits rise by 45% in the first quarter of 2009, according to a local report.

Kristall, which is majority controlled by the Russian Government, saw profits for the first three months of 2009 hit RUB54.7m, according to Russian newswire Interfax today (18 May).

Sales dropped to RUB828.7m, compared to RUB950m in the same period last year, it said.

Last year, French drinks firm Belvédère said that it had held discussions to buy one of Russia's main distilleries, widely speculated to be a subsidiary of Kristall.