Laurent-Perrier has posted a marked rise in operating profit for its first half.

The French Champagne group said late last week that current operating income for the six months to the end of September climbed by 28.4% on the corresponding period a year earlier, coming in at EUR32.3m (US$48m). Net attributable profit for the period also rose, by 32% to EUR17.2m.

Earlier this month, Laurent-Perrier said that sales in the period increased by 15% to EUR115.4m, thanks in part to rising export sales, particularly to Japan.

"For the third year in a row, the price/mix effect has grown substantially, in line with our expectations," said chairman Yves Dumont. "Comforted by the quality and regularity of our results, we will continue to improve our knowledge of the expectations and habits of consumers in the luxury sector, while investing in developing the awareness of the Laurent-Perrier brand among this target audience.

"We remain convinced that in favouring qualitative and controlled development, we will be able to make the most of our growth potential in the medium term."

Looking forward, the group said it believes the Champagne market should continue to grow in the second half of its fiscal year, although "this strong development risks creating market tensions". Volume growth is forecast to slow in the next six months.