24 Feb 2010

Charlie's fortunes improve

7:20 am on 24 February 2010

The chief executive of drinks maker Charlie's says the strong Australian market will continue to underpin growth this year, as demand in New Zealand remains uncertain.

Stefen Lepionka says Australian sales surged 37% in the six months to the end of December, countering a decline in sales in New Zealand.

The group posted a half-year profit of $700,000, a turnaround from the previous period's $700,000 loss.

Its profit jumped to $1.9 million after the sale of a property in Auckland.

Mr Lepionka says New Zealand sales have picked up in the first few months of this year, but he believes Australia, where the brand was launched 14 months ago, will become increasingly important.