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Macallan predicts ‘strong year’ as improved efficiency sends turnover up by £9m

The Macallan whisky company has reported a 17.5% rise in its pre-tax profits to £46.4m in the year to last March, thanks to greater production efficiency.

Macallan’s turnover jumped £9m to £92.3m, and operating profit was up by almost as much, from £37.6m to £46.2m.

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The improvement lagged that of its parent the Glasgow-based and privately-owned Edrington group, which in July reported a 30% rise in pre-tax profits to £95m on a 44% sales increase to £420m.

But Edrington attributed much of that hike to a first full-year contribution from Dominican Republic rum business Brugal.

Macallan employs 38 at its Speyside headquarters in Craigellachie, Banffshire. Its directors report “strong revenue and volume growth in all of the key cask and age variants”, adding: “Operating profit margin rose from 45.1% to 50.1% due to reduced production costs.” Staff numbers however remained constant. The board says the result is “satisfactory” and expects another strong performance in the current year.

The annual report published at Companies House reveals a boardroom shake-up in May, with chairman Bill Farrar standing down and three new directors appointed. Farrar, also Edrington’s sales and marketing director, saw his remuneration reduced from £500,000 to £400,000 last year, though the value of his accrued pension rose from 48,500 to £52,900.

Macallan began the year as the world’s third largest-selling single malt (behind Glenfiddich and Glenlivet) with over 500,000 cases a year, and second largest by value.

Shareholder funds stood in March at £193m, a rise of £23m, after paying out £10.7m in dividends, up from the previous year’s £10m. Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington which employs over 800

at Drumchapel, said in July that global recession would “affect our growth ambitions in the short to medium term”, but the group remained confident about its long-term prospects.

Macallan relies on Edrington’s streamlined global distribution alliance with US partner Beam Global Spirits & Wine, which Curle said gave the group greater control in 24 of its key markets which accounted for 60% of profits.

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