The worldwide recession is continuing to hit profits at Speymalt Whisky Distributors.
The firm, which trades as Elgin-based Gordon and MacPhail and owns Benromach distillery at Forres, said yesterday that pre-tax profits for the year to February 2009 were just under £698,000.
This compared with £1.349million for the previous 12 months, however, the latest profits were affected by more than £272,000 of repairs to the stonework of the company’s retail premises in South Street, Elgin, built in 1895.
Turnover in the past financial year was down 4.1% to £15.822million, with sales in the UK and export markets both down.
Joint managing director Michael Urquhart said yesterday that the impact of the recession may lead to profits dropping again to about £650,000 in the current financial year.
He added: “Hopefully, the world will be out of recession in the next couple of years, but we are not out of the woods yet as current financial events in Dubai show.”
On a brighter note, Mr Urquhart said sales of Benromach had risen by 13% during the last financial year.
Turnover in the current financial year is also expected to rise to about £17.5million.
He said: “Despite a slight drop in overall sales, the company has continued to invest in stocks of new spirit, both in distillation at Benromach and the purchase of new spirit from other distilleries. Investment in the Benromach brand continued.”
Mr Urquhart said Benromach 10-year-old, launched in September, had been well received by all sectors of the trade.
Benromach is now exported to 35 countries.
Mr Urquhart said the company was delighted to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category in April in recognition of a 94% increase in overseas sales in the previous five years.
He added: “Trading in the new financial year has been very buoyant in the UK, with sales increasing 30%, due in part to the excellent tourist season in Scotland and the company’s wine and spirit distribution division winning a number of new contracts including one to supply the Nicolas chain of wine and spirit outlets in the UK with all their spirits.”
Speymalt employed an average of 129 people during the last financial year.