Staff at Macallan take 10% pay cut: Profits fall for first time in a decade

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The Independent Online
STAFF at Macallan-Glenlivet, the Scotch whisky producer, have accepted a 10 per cent pay cut to stave off the threat of redundancies. Directors' salaries are unaffected.

William Phillips, managing director, said about one in six jobs would have 'gone down the line' if the cut was not accepted. He declined to disclose why directors were omitted, but said their bonuses would be hit. Staff also have a bonus scheme.

Macallan said yesterday that 1993 would be a tough year for the Scotch whisky industry, echoing last week's warning from Invergordon Distillers.

Shares in Macallan, best known for its 10-year old single malt of the same name, eased 2p to 178p on the warning and results for 1992, showing a fall in profits for the first time in a decade from pounds 7.3m to pounds 7m before tax.

The company also expects profits to fall further this year. 'While the industry as a whole continues to retrench, margins are once again put under sustained pressure as customers await better times,' the company said.

Despite the gloom, the dividend is being increased on the tightly held shares from 0.763p to 0.915p through a final payment of 0.615p. Earnings per share fell from 4.87p to 4.45p.

Macallan has been squeezed by consumers trading down from the middle and upmarket orders of blended whiskies, for which it supplies fillings, to value-for-money own-label products sold by supermarkets.

Blends traditionally contain two parts grain whisky to one part malt. Macallan's fillings are used in Famous Grouse, produced by Highland Distillers, the J&B Rare brand owned by Grand Metropolitan, and Ballantine's, part of Allied-Lyons' stable.

Sales of Macallan single malt, however, did well in the declining UK market for whisky. Sales volumes of the pounds 20-a-bottle whisky rose by 11 per cent and by 17 per cent in value terms.

The big problem, Mr Phillips said, was in the fillings business, which pulled total turnover back from pounds 17.4m to pounds 16.8m.

While production of single malt will be maintained this year, output of whisky for fillings will be cut again.

Production of fillings, down by 28 per cent in 1992, will be reduced a further 20 per cent this year. Fillings, as a proportion of total output, will drop to below 50 per cent, having accounted for 65 per cent of production in 1991.