Canadian spirits group, Corby Distilleries, posted net earnings for the quarter to the end of November 2002 of C$8.5m, or $1.20 per share, against C$9.6m, or $1.37 per share, for the corresponding quarter in 2001.

The company attributed the fall in net earnings to a C$1.8m decline in equity earnings from its investment in the Tia Maria Group, compared with equity earnings in the first quarter of 2002. The reduced equity earnings stemmed from the significant advertising and promotion spend behind the launch of Tia Lusso.

Excluding equity earnings from the Tia Maria Group, Corby's earnings grew by 8% for the first quarter, the company said. Operating revenues rose from C$29.0m to C$32.6m.