United Spirits Limited, the spirits arm of India's UB Group, has said that net profit rose by nearly 26% in its first half.

Net profit for the six months ended 30 September rose to INR2.1bn (US$42.5m), United Spirits (USL) announced yesterday (21 October). Net profit in the second quarter was INR938.9m, up from INR802.1m last year.

Net sales for the quarter rose 21.09% to INR9.1bn, said the group, which owns Scotch whisky firm Whyte & Mackay.

Vijay Rekhi, managing director of USL, said: "This fiscal year, we are expecting growth of around 20-22% and the same growth should continue in the next financial year. Then, our revenue would be about INR 4,800-5,000 crore, [1 crore = 10m]."

USL's wine division is also set to launch South African 'Chapter 10' wines in the country next week, fronted with South African cricket Captain Jonty Rhodes, who is a director of Chapter 10 and also its brand ambassador.

Rekhi said: "Distributing third party wines has been a policy of the group for a long time. To be in the business of selling wines, one should have a range of wines to sell, besides one's own portfolio. The company has been importing wines from New Zealand, Australia and California. South African wines will be the latest in the range."