Burn Stewart slips 21% and warns of tough year

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The Independent Online
BURN STEWART Distillers yesterday added to the gloom of the Scotch whisky industry, by announcing a 21 per cent fall in annual profits and warning that the year ahead will be as tough, if not tougher, writes John Shepherd.

Profits before tax for the year to 30 June dropped from pounds 10.3m to pounds 8.1m. The shares, floated on the stock market two years ago at 140p, dipped 3p to 108p. The final dividend is held at 3.3p.

A price war in the wholesale market for value-for-money whiskies, mainly sold by the big supermarket groups, is one of the prime pressures on Burn.

Campbell Stirrat, finance director, said: 'We are more comprehensively involved at the value-for- money end and we recognise that we are not in a position to override the situation on a solo basis.

The multiple supermarkets are flexing their muscles, and more people are entering into the fray.'

Despite these problems, the company increased the volume sales of cases of whisky by 20 per cent. Burn exports more than 80 per cent of its production.