The German wine trading company Hawesko Holding AG has seen its sales for the first five months of this year rise 10%, compared to the same period last year.

Although the company didn't elaborate on the sales figures, at the its AGM chief executive Alexander Margaritoff said Hawesko was well on the way to achieving the overall forecast for the year.

Hawesko's 2003 targets are sales of €280m, compared to €267m for 2002.

A dividend of €1.00 per share was approved at the AGM, down from last year's dividend of €1.15.

Margaritoff said: "After the sales increase of 14% in the first quarter, sales development has not been quite as dynamic in the second quarter, but in line with our expectations and well within our forecast for the year overall, so we remain optimistic. And now, after the end of the war in Iraq, if we get some new stimulus in German politics and the economy, we will be even more optimistic about the future."