The French spirits and wines group, Remy Cointreau SA, posted net profit for the first half of the fiscal year of €43.1m ($43.5m), up 6.7% from €40.4m in the first half of last year, ahead of market forecasts. The rise was attributed to a robust performance from liqueurs and Champagne which compensated for poorer figures for Cognac and other spirits.

Remy, which had previously posted 0.5% drop in turnover for the first half to €477.5m, also reported that the second half of the current fiscal year has begun "satisfactorily." "Consumption trends, including the US, remain positive," the company said.

The group said operating profit for the six months to the end of September had fallen from €97.9m to €93.2m which was below analysts' forecasts. This meant that the group's operating margin had decreased from 20.4% last year to 19.5%. However, Remy said that it expects its operating margin to recover to over 20% for the full year.

Operating profit from its Cognac activities fell by 8% from €76.5m to €70.9m, which Remy attributed to the additional investment in setting up a new distribution system in China. A decline in the Polish market hit trading profits from other spirits which fell from €30.6m to €22.8m.

But the liqueurs division saw operating profits rise from €17.5m to €26.2m on the back of a strong performance from its flagship Cointreau brand. Meanwhile, operating profits from Champagne rose from €1.3m to €3.7m.