Laurent-Perrier has posted a marked drop in first-half profits.

The Champagne house, which earlier this month reported a 26% decrease in sales for the six months to the end of September, said yesterday (27 November) that group net profit in the period fell by 35.3% year-on-year, coming in at EUR11.1m (US$14.2m).

Operating profit also struggled, falling by 26.3% to EUR23.8m.

Laurent-Perrier blamed a rise in interest charges, along with a 3.6% slide in sales for the Champagne market as a whole. Earlier this year, the company implemented a policy of strengthening its brands' presence in the premium Champagne category. "Considering the market conditions we face, this step-change may take longer to implement," said company CEO, Yves Dumont. "This will not, however, affect the group's assets, nor the quality of our Champagnes.

"The strength of our financial structure gives us the means to stay the course on our goals for growth and profitability in the medium-term."

Looking forward, the company warned that sales for the current fiscal year will come in 20% down on the previous year.