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Remy Cointreau sees profits hit by Greek crisis

Remy Cointreau, the family-owned drinks company, has seen profits decline drastically for the first half as its Metaxa spirit suffered from Greece's debt crisis.

Remy Cointreau's group net profit for the six months ending 30 September 2010 stood at €14.1 million, a 65% decrease on last year's €39.8 million. In a statement the group said the decline was "principally due to the highly unfavourable impact of the decline in Metaxa's sales in Greece."

The famous spirit is heavily reliant on the Greek market, about 30% of Metaxa's sales are in Greece. Remy Cointreau had to writedown €45 million because of the difficulties in the Greek economy.

The Cognac unit, which includes the Remy Martin brand, saw some growth with an operating profit of €71.5 million compared with €49.1 million for the same period in 2009. Much of this growth occurred in Asia. 

Resilience of its brands was also seen in Europe and the US and the company plans to continue with its strategy of developing its brands internationally. Remy Cointreau also said it is looking to sell its Champagne division and has commenced the bidding process.

The Rémy Cointreau Group is the result of a merger in 1990 of the holding companies of the Hériard Dubreuil and the Cointreau families that controlled E. Rémy Martin & Cie SA and Cointreau & Cie SA respectively.

The group is still 57% owned by the founding families and is chaired by sixth-generation family member Dominique Heriard Dubreuil. Dubreuil took over from her father, who is still honorary chairman, in 1998 and she is credited with turning around the fortunes of the French drinks company. 


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