FRANCE: Belvédère sees strong first quarter on Poland boom
Belvédère has reported first quarter sales of EUR266.9m, up 28.9%. On a constant basis, business grew by 10.2%.
In Poland, the French group's primary market, business grew by 60.9% (18.1% on a constant basis) and accounted for 63.7% of the group's sales. The distributors acquired since April 2007 contributed EUR21m to the quarter's sales, a statement said.
"Our group's market share in vodka stayed at a satisfactory level of 26.1% in March 2008 (compared to 27% a year ago. Source: AC Nielsen), thereby showing the abilities of the brands to absorb the price increases made during the period," Belvédère said.
In France, business declined by 3.3%, still affected by wine, which is not expected to rebound until the 2nd half of 2008, the company said. This area contributed 17.3% of the group's sales.
In the US, Belvédère had sales of EUR17.6m, or 6.6% of total sales. These figures include EUR3.1m for the vinegar and kitchen wines business, sold in early April and that will be deconsolidated from and after the 2nd quarter 2008.
In Lithuania and Bulgaria, sales jumped during the quarter by 26.9% and 55.5%, respectively, to account for 5.2% and 1.3% of its business.
Looking forward the company said: "On the basis of the solid trends shown by Belvédère in its principal markets in the early part of the year, we expect sales (on the present scope of consolidation) of approximately EUR1.2 billion and EBITDA close to EUR60m for the full year 2008."
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