International demand for Champagne continued to grow strongly for producer and distributor Vranken-Pommery Monopole in the group's first half of 2008.

Vranken-Pommery increased revenue by 3.4% to EUR90.3m (US$141.5m) in the six months to 30 June, the company announced today (24 July).

Champagne exports, which compose nearly half of the group's Champagne sales, rose 15.6%, thanks to strong demand in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland and growing interest from Japan. Total Champagne sales rose 4.7% to EUR81m.

Separating the group's Vranken and Pommery marketing operations enabled it to distribute the brands more widely and to expand each network's customer base, the firm said. It also boosted Pommery sales in the US by handing distribution to a subsidiary in the country.

Chairman Paul-François Vranken said the group was "satisfied" with its first half performance.

However, the group added: "Because of the highly seasonal nature of Champagne sales, it is impossible to identify a clear trend for full-year revenue and profitability based on performance in the first six months alone." First half sales typically make up 30% of the full-year total, it said.