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Owner of Ardbeg enjoys increase in profits

THE Glenmorangie Company has seen profits rise almost 18 per cent as its flagship Scotch whisky brands recorded further volume growth.

Accounts just filed at Companies House show turnover at the Edinburgh business, which owns the Ardbeg and Glenmorangie single malts, increased six per cent to £70.12 million in 2013, up from £66.2m.

Pre-tax profits increased from £13.1m to almost £15.4m.

The group did not give any breakdown of any of its geographic markets but said both brands had delivered volume and profit increases.

Previously it said sales of Glenmorangie in the US were said to have grown from 37,000 cases in 2009 to more than 100,000 across 2013 while the brand was also launched into the N­igerian market during last year. Asia was said to have been a strong performer in the year.

Writing in the accounts the directors said: "Our vision is to strengthen and cons­olidate the strong brand ­presence for our iconic, premium single malt whisky brands, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, in fast-growing, international markets where there is significant growth opportunity for premium whiskies.

"The group is very encouraged by this strong performance and remains confident in its objective to build strong premium single malt whisky brands."

The Glenmorangie Company, which also owns the Scotch Malt Whisky ­Society and has a bottling operation in Livingston, West Lothian, is owned by luxury goods group Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH).

The directors said: "We are continuing to capitalise on the unrivalled global distribution strengths of our parent company."

Average staff numbers went up from 214 to 226 with employee costs rising from £10.9m to £12.8m. Directors' remuneration grew from £987,000 to £1.06m with the highest paid receiving £444,000, up from £406,000.

The company's tangible assets increased by £5m to more than £57m as it invested in casks and whisky maturation warehouses to support the Glenmorangie distillery in Tain and the Ardbeg distillery on Islay.

The value of stock on the balance sheet jumped from £103m to £117.3m while capital spending more than doubled to £10.2m.

The directors said: "The group continues to invest in whisky stocks, laying down stocks to support the future growth of the brands."

Net debt was reduced from almost £27m to £9.5m.

The company said it was in a good position "for sustainable balanced growth in 2014" and would continue to target export markets.

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