The investment bank, BNP Paribas, has reduced its rating on the shares of the French drinks group, Remy Cointreau, from "outperform" to "underperform" following the publication of disappointing sales results for the first quarter.

"Disappointing first-quarter sales cannot be explained by SARS and the US dollar alone," said BNP drinks analyst Nikolaas Faes. "There is an increased risk that the company has to narrow its product offering to make an impact with US wholesalers."

BNP also reduced its full-year EPS estimate for Remy from €2.43 to €2.23.