The owner of Moet Champagne, French luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has seen its net profits for the first half of the year rise 24%, to €265m (US$297m).

The figure was still below analysts expectations of €282m, with the luxury goods industry hit by a fall in tourism in the period.

Operating profit was up 4% €874m, the company said.

Although it didn't give figures on how particular brands performed, the wines and spirits division saw operating profit up 16% €321m. The company did say that Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot Champagnes had performed well in the UK and Japan.

First-half operating margin grew to 16.7% from 14.4% in the same period of 2002. Going forward the group said that sales trends in July and August "confirm the signs of recovery observed in June in the majority of our activities."

LVMH still expects "tangible growth in operating profit" for the full year.