The French drinks group, Remy Cointreau, posted a net profit before exceptionals and goodwill of €109m for the year to March 31 2002, up 11.6% from last year's figure of €97.7m. The company attributed the positive results to the contribution from its acquisition of Bols and an uplift in Champagne sales.

Operating profit was 13.5% up at €209.1m, well ahead of market forecasts which were in the region of €201m. Net attributable profit came in more or less in line with analysts' forecasts at €95.3m, up 5.4% from last year. Sales at the group rose by 10% to €1.019 billion.

Concerned about the impact of September 11, Remy Cointreau had forecast that net profit before exceptional items and goodwill would rise by between 5% and 10%, revised from its previous estimate of 20% growth made last June, so the results were ahead of the company's own estimates.

This was the first full-year contribution from the Dutch drinks group, Bols, which Remy acquired in December 2000. The company said Bols accounted for 8% of full-year group profits. The other key positive influence was a surge in Champagne volumes which the company said had risen by 60% since January.

Remy said it had reduced its debt by €38m to €832.3m and was planning to maintain its dividend at €0.90.

With regard to the 2002/2003 fiscal year, the group made no firm forecasts but said that its existing strategy gave it leverage for strong profitable growth looking ahead. However, after the results announcement, Remy's CEO, Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, said the company was targeting 50% net profit growth over the next three years.