The Scotch whisky producer, John Dewar & Sons, part of the Bacardi group, has recorded a 11% drop in sales for the year to the end of March 2003 from £84.2m to £75.7m. The company attributed the decline to a fall in revenue from Venezuela, Spain and France. Pre-tax profits fell by £3m to £5.9m.

"Sales volume fell by 11% overall during the year, although most major markets performed well," said Dewar's director Ian Lochhead. "The exceptions were in Venzuela, where political and economic conditions significantly affected performance; in Spain, where destocking led to a fall in shipments, and in France, where intense price competition has affected sales."

Revenues from Europe were £7m lower than the previous year but US turnover rose slightly to £20m.