Rémy Cointreau is not in talks to sell a stake to US rival Brown-Forman, according to the chairman of the holding firm that controls the French drinks giant.

Last week, a French brokerage linked Brown-Forman with a bid for Rémy, speculation that sent Rémy's share price soaring. Brown-Forman declined to comment on the reports but told just-drinks that it was "on alert" for acquisitions.

However, Francois Heriard Dubreuil, chairman of ORPAR, told Reuters yesterday that there had been no talks between the two companies. "It's rumours, which a broker sent. Everyone has intentions in our industry to talk about ventures and so on," Dubreuil said. "(But) to play tango you need to be two."

Yesterday Rémy confirmed its forecast of a double-digit leap in operating profit after reporting rising revenues for fiscal 2006.

The group said consolidated sales - after stripping out contributions from assets it sold in the last 12 months such as its Bols spirits business - rose 6.4% to EUR802m (US$991m).