Profits at Morrsion Bowmore Distillers leapt by almost 58%, despite a drop in sales, after its Japanese parent company restructured its whisky supply chain operations.
The producers of Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch and McClellands single malts made pre-tax profits of £25.3 million in 2015, according accounts released by Companies House yesterday.
But, turnover at the firm, part of the Tokyo-based drinks giant Suntory, fell from £63.6 million in 2014 to £58.7 million as a result of lower bulk whisky sales and new pricing arrangements within the group.
Suntory launched a new whisky supply chain business, Beam Suntory, in January 2015, following its $16 billion acquisition the previous year of US spirits company Beam Inc, owners of the Teachers, Laphroaig and Ardmore Scotch brands as well as Jim Beam whiskey.
Since the restructure, Morrsion Bowmore’s cased whisky sales have been sold to Beam distributors for onward sale to customers.
In his foreword to the accounts, Morrison Bowmore director, Michael Ord, said: “Business turnover has reduced as a result of lower bulk whisky sales and the new transfer pricing arrangements covering sales to group companies.
“As a result of the new route to market structure the company has incurred significantly lower selling costs. The combination of the above changes have favourably impacted operating profit.”
According to the annual accounts, the company’s turnover in the UK rose from £14.4 million in 2014 to £39.7 million in 2015 and also grew in the North American market. However, it dropped from £25.8 million to £1.6 million year-on-year in the Europe, Africa and Middle East market and also fell in the Asia Pacific and Australia and Japan areas.
Morrison Bowmore, which was acquired by Suntory in 1994, operates distilleries at Bowmore, on the island of Islay, in the Inner Hebrides, Oldmeldrum and Clydebank. Its head offices are in central Glasgow, with bottling operations carried out in the Springburn area of the city.
The company reduced its workforce in 2015, with its average number of employees falling from 233 in 2014 to 196 last year.
Looking ahead, Mr Ord said the directors expected the company to maintain its 2015 level of activity and trade profitably for the foreseeable future.
He added: “The directors will continue to pursue opportunities to grow the business and achieve operational efficiencies where possible.”