Rémy Cointreau's departure from Maxxium will cost the French drinks group around EUR240m (US$318m), the company said today (12 December).

Rémy plans to leave the global distribution network in 2009 to find other ways of selling its products in key markets like Asia.

The company revealed the compensation it will pay the three other members of Maxxium - Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Edrington Group and V&S Group - as it announced its first-half results in Paris.

Rémy, which produces a range of drinks including Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and Rémy Martin Cognac, posted a 7.3% rise in operating profit to EUR58.9m.

The company's first-half performance enabled it to confirm its full-year target of double-digit organic growth in operating profit.

Rémy also confirmed its target of double-digit organic growth in profit from operations for the 2006/07 financial year to 31 March.

The jump in earnings came despite slower sales growth. Revenues for the six months to 30 September inched up 0.3% to EUR354.4m.

Rémy boosted profits through its strategy of focusing on its top-end Champagne and Cognac labels. Earnings from its Champagne stable almost doubled, while profits from its Cognac portfolio rose 38%.

US sales of Cointreau and growing demand for Passoa in Europe buoyed the company's liqueur business, which saw profits rise 9%.

Rémy, meanwhile, posted a loss from its stable of partner brands due, it said, to the end of a number of distribution contracts.