FRANCE: Belvédère's upbeat outlook lifts shares
Belvédère net losses doubled in H1, but the firm's share price has risen
Shares in Belvédère have risen strongly after the French drinks firm said that it expected to return to the black in 2011, despite seeing net losses more than double in the first half of 2010.
Belvédère's share price rose by around 6% today (1 November) following the firm's forecast of a swing from operating losses to profits in 2011. The firm was also buoyed by news that it has agreed to sell its Florida Distillers business for US$48m, ensuring that it will meet the first installment of its ten-year debt repayment plan.
However, the Sobieski vodka maker remains under pressure. Sales fell by 4% in the six months to the end of June, to EUR264.8m (US$370m), despite a 55% rise in sales in the US, it said at the weekend. Operating losses came in slightly lower than in the first half of last year, at EUR10.4m compared to EUR11m.
Net losses, meanwhile, sank to EUR49.1m from EUR21.9m in the same period of 2009. Charges related to its bankruptcy protection deal with French courts were to blame for the deeper losses, said the group.
Belvédère's shares fell by 18% in September after a French court told the company to pay back EUR375m of net debt more quickly than previously anticipated. The firm said that it was confident of meeting its first scheduled payment of EUR38.9m on 10 November.
The firm estimates that, by 10 November 2019, it will have paid out EUR747.8m in order to service debt. It is committed to selling assets in order to help finance repayments.
Belvédère has had its creditor protection terminated, meaning all of its debts are now due....
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