PARIS, July 20 (Reuters) - French spirits group Remy Cointreau kept its full year profit growth goal on Friday, although sales growth slowed in the first quarter as price increases held back demand for its premium cognac in America and Europe.
The maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liquor said it expected the situation to normalize in the coming quarters, while demand remained strong in China during the first quarter.
Remy, which is accelerating a drive to sell higher-priced spirits to boost profit margins, kept its goal to grow current operating profits on a comparable basis in the current financial year.
Sales for the first quarter that ended in June reached 241.5 million euros ($281.7 million), representing like-for-like growth of 5.9 percent from last year - slightly above analysts’ expectations for 5.3 percent growth.
Nevertheless, this marked a slowdown from 12.8 percent growth in the fourth quarter, when demand was boosted by Chinese New Year festivities.
Last month Remy’s finance chief Luca Marotta said he was “OK” with the market consensus for 12-13 percent growth in current operating profit for the financial year that started on April 1.
$1 = 0.8572 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta