Scotch whisky group Whyte & Mackay has said its performance for the year looks "very healthy", offering more evidence that Scotch has bucked an economic downturn.

Whyte & Mackay told just-drinks today (24 September) that its "end of year accounts are looking very healthy, which is reflective of the increasing popularity of whisky and the global growth of Whyte & Mackay".

The firm issued its statement in response to press reports claiming the group had made a pre-tax profit of GBP25.6m (US$47.5m), and a turnover of GBP£348m, in the 18 months to the end of March this year.

The group, which was bought last year by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and is now part of his United Spirits business, has declined to release official sales and profit figures.

It said today, however: "All sectors of the business are growing due to the restructuring following the takeover by United Breweries."

Scotch exports have continued to grow this year, despite an economic slowdown in some markets. Exports rose 14% to more than GBP1.3bn (US$2.3bn) for the first half of 2008, according to preliminary figures released to just-drinks by the Scotch Whisky Association earlier this month.

Whyte & Mackay's positive statements follow strong results for Pernod Ricard's Scotch divison, Chivas Brothers. It reported this month that both Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet brands increased global case sales by 10% in the year to the end of June. The Ballantine's brand also reported a 9% rise.