Vranken-Pommery Monopole is targeting acquisitions in still wine in 2008, the Champagne house has said.

Company secretary Paul Bamberger said today (4 April) that Vranken, which has interests in Champagne, Port and wines from the Rhone and Provence, is looking to further expand its wine stable in 2008.

"In 2008, we will make some moves into branded wine with a wider portfolio of wines that have a potential of a million bottles," Bamberger told just-drinks.

Vranken's expansionist attitude comes after a buoyant 2006. Earlier today, Vranken posted an 11% jump in profits for 2006 thanks to growing sales. Operating profit reached EUR45.3m (US$60.5m) last year, up from EUR40.7m a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9.1% to EUR268.3m as Vranken saw its sales reach over 20m bottles, a rise of almost 7% on the year, as its business basked in the growing demand for Champagne in key markets like the UK.

Bamberger believes the growth in Champagne sales it enjoyed last year can be maintained in 2007 as it targets higher sales in markets like the US. He said the company, which is the world's number two Champagne house, is looking at further driving exports this year.

"International growth is quite sustainable, the trend is very strong," Bamberger said. "Look at the US, for example. Champagne consumption per capita in the US is ten times less than in Europe."

Bamberger said an improved price mix had driven the growth in operating profit and offset increased costs and higher marketing investment. However, he said Vranken would not look at hiking prices as demand for Champagne grows. "We do not want to make special increases in price. An acceptable price increase is 3-4%; we have to be reasonable in that field."