Champagne sales rebound at Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Champagne sales rebound at Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Champagne and Cognac sales at Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) have rebounded from declines in 2009 to rise by more than a third in the first half of 2010, the firm has announced.

Sales at LVMH's wine and spirits arm, Moet Hennessy, rose by 18% on a like-for-like basis to EUR1.3bn (US$1.7bn) for the six months to the end of June, the group said today (28 July).

Moet Hennessy echoed its competitors in reporting a resurgence in its Champagne business and strong growth for Cognac in Asia. Its sales not only beat those of 2009 but also marked a marginal increase on sales of EUR1.29bn in the first six months of 2008.

Many in the drinks industry will welcome the firm's report of "strong momentum" for Hennessy Cognac in the US in what remains a tough economic climate. 

There were concrete signs, too, of margin improvement at Moet Hennessy during the half-year, with the division's operating profits rising by 35% to EUR326m. This may help to alleviate industry concerns about depressed Champagne pricing, although LVMH did not publish separate Champagne, Cognac and Scotch whisky figures.  

LVMH CEO and chairman, Bernard Arnault, said that the firm was confident on the second half of the year, but will continue to seek cost savings.

"Operating margin has improved considerably thanks to robust revenue growth and the control over operating costs," he said. "This focus on cost control will continue into the second half of the year despite the momentum in the markets."

LVMH group sales rose by 16% to EUR9bn, while profits from recurring operations increased by 33% to EUR1.8bn.

Moet Hennessy is 34%-owned by Diageo. Earlier this week, Moet Hennessy's Scotch whisky arm, Glenmorangie Co, reported falls in profits and sales for 2009 due to a restructuring of the business.