Glasgow-based drinks company Edrington — owner of Scotch whisky brands The Macallan, Highland Park and The Famous Grouse — said its core revenues rose 7% to £706.7 million and profit before tax rose 3% to £194.7 million in the year ended 31 March 2018.
Edrington also announced plans to put its Cutty Sark and Glenturret brands up for sale.
Edrington chief executive Ian Curle said that the sale proposals “will enable greater focus and investment to support the long-term growth of the company’s premium portfolio” including The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Highland Park, The Glenrothes, and Brugal Rum.
“Premium spirits is the fastest growing area of the spirits market,” said Curle.
“Focussing our resources and investment on the brands best equipped to compete powerfully will help Edrington to capitalise on the long term prospects from premium spirits.”
The sale process will commence this summer and is not expected to involve any redundancies, with an anticipation that all 31 employees at The Glenturret in Crieff, Perthshire, will transfer to a new owner.
The Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest Single Malt Scotch Whisky distillery and the site includes the visitor centre for The Famous Grouse.
Edrington expects a “high level” of interest from prospective purchasers.
Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky has been owned by Edrington since 2010 and enjoys leading positions in Spain, Greece and Portugal.
Cutty Sark is blended and bottled at Edrington’s Great Western Road facility in Glasgow, accounting for around 10% of volume output at the site.
Graham Hutcheon, group operations managing director, said the impact of that sale can be managed over time, adding: “Our intention is to offer blending and bottling facilities to a new owner.
“If that should not prove appropriate we do not anticipate any compulsory redundancies and would endeavour to redirect our people to the dynamic premium developments at Great Western Road.”
On the 2018 results, CEO Curle said: “2017-18 was a strong year of growth and increased investment for Edrington.
“Economic and market developments remain encouraging in the near term.
“All regions are experiencing an upturn in economic growth and Scotch Whisky exports are also in growth.
“The premium segment of Scotch Whisky and other spirit categories is the fastest growing, reinforcing Edrington’s emphasis on premium brand building.
“While consumer trends are encouraging, the geopolitical context, including Brexit, remains uncertain.
“Scotch whisky is a robust and successful industry but it does face increasing competition from other authentic spirit categories leading to the 400+ trade barriers faced currently.
“Against this backdrop we want our governments to create a climate where economic development and growth is actively encouraged and rewarded.
“Despite ongoing geopolitical uncertainty we are confident about the medium and long term prospects for the business and will continue to invest in our people, brands, and processes.
“With its premium brand portfolio, proven strategy, and management capability, Edrington remains well-positioned to deliver further growth.”