Vranken Monopole, the Champagne house which owns the Vranken, Charles Lafitte and Heidsieck Monopole brands, is predicting an increase in sales this year even without including figures from the Pommery brand acquired from LVMH in April.
Sales for the first half, excluding Pommery, were up 24.3 per cent from €37.8 million to €46.98 million, while operating profits were ahead 20 per cent to €5.5 million. Net losses improved slightly from €1.66 million to €1.35 million, but the company stressed that profit figures were not indicative because of the seasonality of the Champagne business.
A change to the company's accounting methods also meant that the first half figures included half the company's charges while accounting for just a quarter of its sales.
"On a like-for-like basis (excluding Pommery), profits for 2002 will be higher than those for 2001," the company said in a statement. Including Pommery, the company said it was expecting sales to reach around €230 million compared to €138.25 million.
Pommery is one of the top three premium Champagne brands in the world, the company said, with sales in some 80 companies worldwide.
The company said that it was maintaining its target of 20 per cent operating margin in 2003, in no small part due to the strength of Pommery, and said that it would also undertake a major financial restructuring in the next few months as it continued to intregrate the new brand.
Paul-Francois Vranken, head of the company, said that he had recognised at the time of the Pommery acquisition that it represented major opportunity for Vranken Monopole, and that the group's experiences in the first three months of handling the brand had proven beyond a doubt that Pommery's growth potential was even greater than he had originally believed.