Group is confident on 10

Group is confident on '10

Leading Champagne group Vranken-Pommery Monpole has outperformed its sector in 2009, limiting a sales decline to 5% and reporting a rise in net profits for the year.

Net sales for the 12 months to the end of December fell to EUR269.8m (US$363.7m), down 5.6% on EUR285.8m in 2008, Vranken-Pommery Monopole said today (30 March). Volume sales for 2009 were level with the year before.

The group's share price rose by 3% on the Paris Stock Exchange after its results beat Champagne sector averages of a 9% fall in volume sales and a 17% slide in value sales over the year.

Vranken-Pommery said that it was not immune to consumers trading down to cheaper bottles, and the group reported a 5% drop in price mix.

Operating profits slipped by 18% to EUR42.3m.

But, cost reductions throughout the year helped the Charles Lafitte brand owner to increase net profits by almost 8% to EUR18.2m.

The firm said that it expects improved demand for Champagne in 2010.

"Vranken-Pommery Monopole is confident of a recovery, from 2010, in demand from its major international customers and partners," said the group. It also predicted a return to growth for the premium end of the market.

For the full statement, in French, click here.