Seasonal stocktake: Billy Walker, managing director of Benriach

Looking east is the key to seeing a little daylight in economic gloom

1. How confident are you about the year ahead?

Reasonably confident: our business is very international, with only around 5 per cent dependent on the UK.

2. Do you think the economy is out of the woods?

Not completely, but we can see daylight. Much will depend on the Bank of England keeping interest rates low.

3. What challenges will 2011 hold for your business?

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Our primary objective is to continue to grow and internationalise our single malt whisky brands, Benriach and GlenDronach.

We see real opportunity in China, Vietnam and South Korea, which are markets with which we have to date only flirted. We will also set ourselves the challenge to gain entry into the key markets in Central and South America.

4. What would help you overcome these challenges?

The Bank of England keeping interest rates low and stable. Cash retention is key to developing our brands and laying down stock to ensure scale within our business for the long term.

A more favourable rate for corporation tax and more generous capital allowances would provide a huge uplift.

5. Was 2010 better or worse than expected?

We delivered against budget, so the conclusion must be that 2010 was actually OK.

6. If you could introduce or change one government policy then what would it be?

Reduce corporation tax and increase capital allowances.

7. Where would you like the business to be by the end of 2011?

Our five-year rolling plan calls for us to achieve budget, which is based on sensible organic growth in each year.

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8. What's the one item or gadget you're going to buy in 2011?

My "Wee Free" upbringing allows little flexibility for material things. However, a Range Rover Vogue would be a nice purchase.

9. What's your new year's resolution?

Keep calm.

10. Will Andy Murray win Wimbledon?

Yes, but it will have to be within the next two to three years.