Laurent-Perrier is forecasting sales for the full year 2005/06 up 3-5% on the previous year, according to company chairman Yves Dumont.

Speaking to analysts, Dumont said sales would reach €220m to €225m. Operating profits would be stable.

He added that the French Champagne house has plans to pump between €6.5m and €9.5m a year into efforts to boost profitable growth. Most of that will be spent on production facilities, with the remainder targeted at upgrading its information technology and commercial systems.

Dumont was questioned about the likely arrival of fellow French group Pernod Ricard's entry into the Champagne market if it is successful in its bid for Allied Domecq, which owns Mumm and Perrier Jouet Champagne.

He said that the company would face a much more "serious competitor" than before. However he added: "It will not be bad news because we have observed that competitors with rational approaches for profitable growth, similar to ours, tend to favour the market's overall profitablity rather than destroying it."