Japanese brewer and distiller Suntory has posted a 21% leap in operating profit for 2006.

Suntory, which also owns Scotch distiller Morrison Bowmore, said today (8 February) that operating profit reached JPY77.9bn (US$643m) last year. Sales rose 2.9% to JPY1.4 trillion.

The company, which also holds the PepsiCo licence in Japan, said net profit had slipped 32% in 2006 due to a comparison with 2005 when the company benefited from a number of one-off items.

Those items included the sale of Suntory's stake in Allied Domecq for JPY22.1bn. Suntory had held a 3.4% stake in Allied before the company was bought by Pernod Ricard.