Spirits group Remy Cointreau has achieved better-than-expected first-half profits despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Thursday, predicting a strong recovery in the second half, driven by China and the United States.
For the 2020/21 full year, the maker of Rémy Martin cognac, Cointreau liqueur and Mount Gay rum forecast 'positive' like-for-like current operating profit growth and said it remained confident of its ability to emerge stronger from the crisis.
The forecast would compare with a slump of 22% in profit the previous year. Analysts had been looking for a 0.5% like-for-like decline for the full year.
Group current operating profit for the six months to 30 September reached €106.2 million ($126.6 million), or a like-for-like decline of 22.5%, as cost controls helped limit the fall.
That outperformed a company-compiled consensus of 18 analysts that forecast current operating profit of €101.1 million, down 26.1% on a like-for-like basis.
It also reflected already reported better-than-expected sales as a rise in sales to US households and strong mid-autumn festival celebrations in China partly offset a slump in travel retail sales from the coronavirus crisis.
Operating profit at the Rémy Martin cognac division, which makes more than 80% of group profit, reached €93.6 million in the first half, or a like-for-like decline of 25.1%.
Already reported cognac sales fell 18.1% in the first half.