LONDON (CNNfn) - Revelers stocking up on bubbly in advance of the party of the millennium boosted half-year earnings at LVMH, the world's largest champagne producer.
The Paris-based group reported a 40 percent jump in operating earnings at its champagne and wines division in the first six months of 1999 to 120 million euros ($125 million), when it shipped 23 million bottles.
In a statement LVMH promised that the 1999 champagne forecast appeared "abundant and of quality".
The group's largest division, which manufactures and markets leather and fashion items under brand names such as Louis Vuitton, saw its operating earnings rise 15 percent to 369 million euros.
LVMH attributed part of its financial improvement to a general recovery in the global economy.
The main drag on the group's financial performance remains the cognac and spirits division. Cognac sales have been under pressure since the financial crisis hit the key market of Asia.
Japanese sales are still falling, although that has been offset by cost savings in the United States.
For the group as a whole, revenue rose 16 percent to 3.6 billion euros, and net profits surged 60 percent, although a large proportion of the bottom-line jump was attributable to the sale of part of the company's stake in spirits giant Diageo (DGE).
Noting that demand has strengthened further in the two months since the quarter end, LVMH commented that prospects for the rest of the year appear "favorable", and predicted full-year underlying profits growth of more than 20 percent.
The numbers were roughly in line with what analysts had predicted, and in Paris LVMH stock inched less than 1 percent higher to 284.90 euros.