The Champagne house, Vranken Monopole, reported a net loss of €1.35m ($1.33m) for the first half of 2002, against a loss of €1.66m ($1.63m) in the corresponding period in 2001.

Turnover in the first half rose by 24% to €46.98m ($46.2m), while operating margin fell from 12% in the first half of 2001 to 11.7% in first half of 2002.

The figures do not include a contribution from the Champagne brand, Pommery, which Vranken Monopole acquired from LMVH in April 2002. With the addition of Pommery, Vranken Monopole expects sales for 2002 of €230m ($226.3m) and is aiming for an operating margin of 20% in 2003.