Compania Vinicola de Norte de Espana today announced a huge drop in net profit for the first nine months of 2003. Net profit fell by 42.9% to €2.32m (US$2.72m), as sales dropped by 0.98% to €23.2m.

The company, whose main brands are Cune, Vina Real, Contino and Imperial, blamed the low figures on an increase in amortisation and personnel expenses in the period. The opening of its winery Laguardia in La Rioja region contributed to the rise in expenses.

Although the company said sales in October were better than the same month last year, it did not disclose financial details. The wine producer said it has put in place measures to increase sales in the Christmas period.

In 2002, for the year, sales reached €36m, while net profit totalled €8.53m.