CEDC described its first quarter as "challenging"

CEDC described its first quarter as "challenging"

Central European Distribution Corporation has posted a doubling of operating profits on the back of strong sales in the first quarter of 2010.

The US-based company, which operates primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, said today (7 May) that operating profits for the three months to the end of March soared to US$25.3m compared to $12.4m a year ago. Sales also doubled, hitting $149.8m versus $70.8m.

However, factoring in CEDC's Polish distribution business, which it agreed to sell last month, the company delivered net losses in the quarter of $23,364, an improvement on the $87,661 losses in the first quarter of 2009.

“The overall markets remained challenging in the first quarter 2010 with our core vodka markets down approximately 7% to 9% compared to first quarter 2009, which is an improvement over prior year trends in the first quarter 2009 where we saw markets down by 10% to 15%, but not in line with our expectations of a flat vodka market in volume terms,” said CEDC's president and CEO, William Carey. “We anticipate faster consumer growth coming in the second half of 2010 to the first half of 2011 driven mainly by a more dynamic growth of wages and lower interest rates in Russia.”

The company has revised its full-year sales guidance downwards to between $900m and $1.05bn from the previous forecast of between $1.8bn and $1.9bn.

CEDC also noted today that it has lined up the launch of its Zubrowka bison grass vodka in the US in July.

For the full announcement, click here.