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Edrington boosted by overseas growth

Glasgow-based Edrington, which is controlled by the charit-able Robertson Trust, unveiled a 6% rise in first-half turnover to £295.9m as it published its interim results yesterday.

It also declared it was not witnessing any slowdown in Asia, citing Taiwan as its “star” market in this region. The distiller highlighted the popularity of The Famous Grouse blend and The Macallan single malt in Taiwan.

Edrington said its pre-tax profit growth during its first half to September 30 had been enhanced by “early phasing” of sales and shipments – which resulted from patterns of demand – and added that this impact would “unwind” in the second half.

The distiller put underlying growth in first-half profits from its brands at 7%.

Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington, said he was “delighted” with the first-half results.

Edrington highlighted its opening of an office in Johannesburg in South Africa, and a company spokesman declared that the distiller viewed the markets of sub-Saharan Africa as a big opportunity. The distiller cited its desire to target the “key markets” of Nigeria, Kenya and Angola.

Diageo and Pernod Ricard have unveiled plans recently for major investments in new Scotch whisky capacity. While Edrington declined to be drawn on its plans yesterday, it is believed to be close to announcing investment to boost its capacity to produce The Macallan.

Among its other brands, the distiller said that US sales of Cutty Sark had increased for the first time in 25 years.

Edrington highlighted an “encouraging performance in emerging markets, particularly in Russia”. It also cited its expanded presence in eastern Europe, which involves a particular focus on Ukraine, Poland and Croatia.

Edrington highlighted the weakness of markets in southern Europe, notably Greece.

Its spokesman said: “Greece has taken a significant tumble as a market-place as a consequence of the economic turmoil.”

He added that Edrington was holding its performance in terms of market share in Spain and Portugal, but acknowledged these markets were “both problematic”.

Industry figures published last month showed that Scotch whisky exports in the opening six months of 2012 were down marginally on the record level achieved in the first half of last year, as sales to Spain fell but US demand continued to grow. The Scotch Whisky Association figures showed exports in the six months to June 30 totalled £1.786 billion, falling just £12m short of the £1.798bn figure for the first half of 2011.

Edrington, which also produces the Highland Park single-malt, employs more than 2200 people around the world. About 900 of its employees are based in Scotland.

Mr Curle said: “This has been another period of strong growth in our business and reflects a fantastic performance by our employees – both in Scotland and across the world. Demand for our single-malt brands, led by The Macallan, remains very strong – particularly in the US.”