January 22, 2019 / 6:31 AM / a year ago

China's thirst for cognac helps Remy Q3 sales beat expectations

PARIS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - French spirits group Remy Cointreau reported stronger-than-expected third quarter revenues, as the early timing of the Chinese New Year boosted premium cognac sales while demand was also robust in the United States.

The Chinese New Year, a crucial part of the calendar for the drinks industry in that country, starts on Feb. 5 this year as opposed to Feb. 16 last year.

Remy said that this earlier start had helped cognac sales in the third quarter.

Group sales reached 348 million euros ($395 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, showing like-for-like growth of 8.7 percent. This compared with average expectations of 8.2 percent growth in a company-compiled poll of 16 analysts.

Remy, which is trying to sell more of its higher-priced spirits to boost profits, also kept its goal for growth in current operating profit at constant exchange rates and scope for the full year ending March 31.

Cognac sales alone grew 15.6 percent like-for-like in the quarter, accelerating from 12 percent growth in the second quarter, and beating analysts’ expectations of 13.3 percent.

$1 = 0.8808 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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