Poland's largest distributor of vodka, Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC) saw its first-quarter net profit rise to US$379,000 from $23,000 in the same period in 2000.

CEDC chairman William Carey told Polish press: "First-quarter growth of net sales close to 80% was exceptional. We are able to boost market share while still maintaining margins in a very competitive environment.

"Our leverage effect in the market place following recent acquisitions has been firmly positive in both top and bottom lines," he added.

CEDC which operates in major urban areas across Poland and distributes Johnnie Walker Scotch, Corona, Becks, Pilsner, Fosters, Guinness and Budweiser Budvar recently acquired Astor Co., a major regional distributor of alcohol products in north-central Poland, which expects to record sales revenue of $20m and a net profit of $615,000.