UPDATE 1-Remy Cointreau FY sales down 11.6 pct
* Sales down to 714 mln euros
* Stock down 6 pct
(Adds share price)
PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) - French drinks group Remy Cointreau (RCOP.PA) said full-year turnover was 714.0 million euros ($944.2 million), down 11.6 percent on the year and in line with guidance given in January.
The figures represent Remy's final year as a member of the Maxxium distribution joint venture, which included Fortune Brands FO.N and The Edrington Group, in which Remy had a 25 percent stake.
In response, its shares fell six percent in early trading, dropping to 18.5950 euros for a market capitalisation of some 940 million.
The stock has so far lost 33 percent of its value in 2009, after a 39.5 percent decline in 2008. France's second-largest drinks group said in January that 2008/09 profit would be down 15 percent.
The firm sells Remy Martin cognac, Cointreau liquer and champagne, such as Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck
The group said there was a one-off, but significant, reduction in stocks related to the transition to a new distribution network.
It also noted continued substantial destocking among most wholesalers and distributors worldwide, notably in the United States and Russia.
The group also confirmed its January guidance for a decline of around 15 percent in its annual current operating profit, mainly due to the investment in implementing its new network.
A favourable movement in debt enabled the group, as anticipated, to comply with the banking covenant (Debt/EBITDA) of its syndicated credit.
In the current economic environment, Remy Cointreau said it would benefit fully from the establishment of its new distribution network, operational since April.
Remy, as well as the V&S unit of Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA), said in September it was exiting Maxxium. ($1=.7562 Euro) (Reporting by Marcel Michelson; editing by Simon Jessop)
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