Gruppo Campari has posted a slight lift in full-year net profit, despite a dip in sales in the period.

The Italy-based drinks based company said today (18 March) that net profits in the 12 months to the end of December rose by 1.1% on the corresponding period a year earlier, coming in at EUR126.5m (US$166.1m). Sales, however, slid by 1.6% to EUR942.3m.

EBITDA followed suit, decreasing by 2.5% to EUR214.7m.

The company's spirits portfolio saw sales drop by 3.4% year-on-year, with Campari's namesake brand rising by 1.3%. Sales of Skyy vodka came in 4.1% up, although Scotch whisky brand Glen Grant suffered a drop in sales. Wines, which accounted for 16.7% of total sales, registered a growth of 4.1%, driven by Cinzano vermouth , Cinzano sparkling wines and, among the still wines, Sella & Mosca and Teruzzi & Puthod.

Soft drinks, which accounted for 10.9% of sales recorded a positive change of 0.6%, entirely attributable to organic growth, driven by the Crodino brand.

In regional terms, Europe, accounting for 22.6% of sales, grew by 7.8%, the Italian market, which makes up 41.1% of group sales, declined slightly, by 1.5%. In the Americas, the US registered organic growth of 5.9%, although this as hit by an exchange rate effect of -5.4% and a perimeter effect of -11.9%.

The rest of the world, which includes duty free sales and accounts for 4.8% of sales, registered growth of 4%.

"In 2008 we achieved solid results in spite of a significantly worsening economic environment," said company CEO, Bob Kunze-Concewitz. "We obtained positive organic growth in sales as well as in all operating profit indicators thanks to cost containment.

"While we will maintain a cautious stance during the current year, we are positive about the company's prospects: the underlying business is healthy and the group's key brands' consumption continues to grow and outperform market trends".

Campari said that it will propose a full year dividend of EUR0.11 per share to the shareholders' meeting, scheduled for 30 April. The dividend, which is for the same amount as 2007, will be paid on 21 May.