Scotch whisky company The Edrington Group saw its turnover jump 6% in its full year results for 2002 to £200.8m, compared to £188.4m in 2001. Profit before tax increased by 12.8% to £49.5m, from £43.9m.
 
Strong performances by Edrington's four key brands - The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Macallan and Highland Park - in particular in exports, drove the results the company said.
 
Commenting on the results, Ian Good, chairman and chief executive, said: "The group continues to make excellent progress with profit before tax and earnings available to shareholders at record levels. 

"All four key brands grew volume and increased their global market share. In particular, I would highlight the excellent performance of Cutty Sark in Spain, The Famous Grouse in Greece, its main overseas market, The Macallan in Japan and Highland Park in the UK.  In all these markets, we increased the resources behind the brands and they responded magnificently, with strong performances.

"The UK market is extremely important to our Group and The Famous Grouse maintained its premium position and achieved an increase in sales despite the market being extremely competitive, with some companies apparently paying no regard to profitability to try to grow market share."
 
The company said that it had invested the largest sum ever in support of its key brands. But it also warned that the market place for Scotch whisky was extremely competitive and the consolidation taking place within the industry may well continue to make its major competitors stronger and more powerful.

Despite that, Edrington said it believed its key brands had considerable potential and it was looking forward with confidence.