Castle Brands has slipped deeper into the red in its first half, with net sales hampered by tax rises in Ireland.

Net loss loss for the six months ended 30 Septmber worsened to $10.4m, compared to $7.7m for the same period last year, Castle Brands said on Friday (14 November).

Net sales for the group, which owns Boru vodka and Limoncello, slid by $1.2m to $13.3m, it said. A one-off charge of $1.9m related to higher import and value added taxes in Ireland was to blame, it added.

US case sales fell by 5%, while international case sales dropped by 27% in the second quarter.

Castle president and CEO Richard Lampen said that the US-based company has progressed this year, despite the negative figures.

The group last month completed a cash infusion of US$15m, designed to improve stability by cutting debt. "These developments put our company on firmer footing and enable us to pursue our original vision of building our own premium brands," said Lampen.

Chief operating officer John Glover said that the group's brands were performing well in the US. He added: "We continue to aggressively cut and control costs and promote efficiency in our efforts to achieve profitability."