Fortune Brands has enjoyed a leap in first-half profits due to contributions from its stable of ex-Allied Domecq labels.

The US consumer group yesterday (27 July) reported a 31% leap in group operating income to US$740.5m on the back of a 14% rise in net sales to US$2.2bn.

Fortune's wine and spirits arm, which trades under the name Beam Global Spirits & Wine, posted a 94% jump in earnings to US$285.5m for the six months to the end of June. Sales from the stable, which includes Jim Beam and former Allied labels such as Sauza Tequila, more than doubled to US$1.3bn.

Fortune chairman and CEO Norm Wesley said: "In spirits and wine, the addition of the brands we acquired last July, the enhanced scale and quality of our portfolio, and a lower cost structure helped fuel our strong spirits-and-wine results."

Robert van Brugge, drinks analyst at US fund manager Sanford C. Bernstein, said the growth of Fortune's spirits sales in the US slowed during the second quarter, adding that volumes were led by Tequila, bourbon and vodka.

He added: "The Allied integration process appears on-track and we believe the company can achieve its target of 70% divisional operating profit growth in 2006."