Greek woes hurt Remy Cointreau

FRENCH drinks group Remy Cointreau took a blow from the Greek economic crisis yesterday, writing €45m (£37.7m) off the value of its Metaxa brand as sales of the Greek brandy declined in its home market.

The Greek writedown wiped two thirds off Remy’s group net profit, which slumped to €14.1m (£11.83m) in the six months through September.

Remy said there had been a “highly unfavourable impact” on operating profitability in liqueur and spirits from a decline in Metaxa sales in Greece, though it gave no numbers.

However Remy chief Jean-Marie Laborde said he was confident on the second half of the group’s current year through March, partly due to a fresh round of price increases.

“We’re completely confident on the second half,” Laborde said, adding the group’s loss-making champagne unit – which is anyway being sold – would be at the very least break-even at the operating level for the year.

Remy Cointreau is selling its champagne operations, which include the Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck brands, to focus more on cognac, which is a popular drink in China.

The group should receive indicative offers for the champagne unit by the end of December and finalise a deal in March, Laborde said.