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Whisky chief confident of building on 2012 success

Whisky industry entrepreneur Billy Walker says his Benriach Distillery Company had a "fantastic" year in 2012 and expects an even better result in 2013.

Benriach recently made its second acquisition when it bought the Glenglassaugh distillery in Banffshire, adding to GlenDronach in Aberdeenshire which it acquired in 2008.

The company's accounts filed yesterday show strong organic growth last year, with turnover jumping 25% to £25.3 million, as the previous year's penal financing charges of £2.5m reduced to £546,341 following a new financing deal with Royal Bank of Scotland. Operating profit was up from £4.1m to £5.2m, with a rise from £1.4m to £4.2m at the pre-tax level. Shareholder funds were up 50% at £12.1m, while net debt grew by £1m to £30.5m.

Mr Walker said Glenglassaugh would bring additional profitability to the business.

He added: "It was under-developed, there are things we can do that perhaps the previous owners couldn't do."

He said the improvement in profitability last year would double again in the current year. He added: "We are benefiting from the global good time the industry is having." Export growth into its high-end markets around the world almost uncontrollable, he said.

He added: "We are operating at full capacity."

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