Champagne group Laurent-Perrier has reported consolidated turnover for the first 6 months of 2003/2004 of €69.95m, virtually unchanged at - 0.1% on the same period last year.

The company pointed out that the €70.05m reached in the first half of 2002/2003, represented a considerable rise (+15.6%) compared to the same period in 2001/2002.

"This sustained high level of activity deserves to be emphasised at a time when both the mediocre economic climate in France and unfavourable export exchange rates are weighing heavily on turnover, it said in a statement.
 
At constant exchange rates and on a comparable brand perimeter basis, the group's turnover would be up by 6.7%.

"The positive price/mix effect shows that Laurent-Perrier is successfully pursuing its value policy," the company said.
 
However, after the strong 24.9% increase recorded in 2002/2003 at the same date, operating profit showed an anticipated decline to €10.39 m.

Net income reached €3.50m compared to €4.13m compared to last year's first half. The company blamed a joint-venture created in Japan with some other French wine prestige producers. This semester is the first time when the group's results include a consolidation with those of the new Japanese entity, which show a slight loss.

Laurent Perrier announced in October that it had reached an agreement with Château Malakoff on their tie-up. The tie-up should be finalised at the beginning of 2004 the company said.

"Château Malakoff's integration in the group would allow Laurent-Perrier, with an annual turnover of about €200m, to strengthen its position in France and on export markets, while retaining its status of independent family company and confirming its roots in the Champagne region," it said.

Laurent-Perrier said a temporary slowdown in deliveries in certain countries - notably in France - and the unfavourable exchange rates, are having an adverse effect on the consolidated profit and loss account, but they should not stand in the way of a strategic redeployment which will prove fully and durably profitable once these factors are reversed.

"Over the current financial period, the results of Laurent-Perrier should thus be temporarily impacted," a statement said.