Remy Cointreau is celebrating a healthy full-year thanks to strong performances by its Cognac and Champagne divisions.

The French company announced today (12 June) that operating profit for the 12-month period to 31 March rose by 14.9% in organic terms year-on-year, coming in at EUR141.8m (US$178.6m). Sales for the period also rose, by 4.5% organically to EUR798.3m.

Remy Cointreau credited the climb to growth in key brands and their movement up market, as well as continued price increases; refocused and sustained marketing expenditure, and a reduction in debt.

The company's Cognac unit boasted an operating profit increase of 20% for the year to EUR76.3m, while Champagne was driven by strong sales of Piper-Heidsieck, bringing in EUR9.7m in profit, an increase of 14.2%. The Liqueurs & Spirits division also performed well, posting profit of EUR51.9m a year-on-year rise of 9.7%.

While net financial debt fell by 11% to EUR771.5m, the company advised that the sale of Bols to ABN AMRO Capital for EUR210m (US$250.3m) in March will be taken into account in the next financial year. A dividend of EUR1.10 will be proposed at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 27 July.

"Remy Cointreau continues its strategy of value creation by capitalising on its key brands and strong positions in principal world markets, essential growth drivers," the company said.  The group is forecasting double-digit growth in current operating profit for the 2005/2006 financial year.