French spirits group Rémy Cointreau has reported a higher-than-expected operating profit growth for the 2021/22 fiscal year and said it was confident over its upbeat outlook for this year and beyond.
The maker of Rémy Martin cognac predicted strong sales in the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year, which started on April 1, despite a high comparison base and the impact of COVID-related lockdowns in China.
Previously, in April, the group had said that it was 'confident' of its prospects for the coming year.
'Closing The Year With Confidence'
"On the strength of our progress against our strategic goals, new consumption trends and our robust pricing power, we are starting the year 2022-23 with confidence," chief executive Eric Vallat said in a statement.
The pandemic helped Rémy's drive towards higher-priced spirits to boost profit margins long term, accelerating a shift towards premium drinks, at-home consumption, cocktails and e-commerce.
Strong demand for its premium cognac in China and the United States, along with tight cost control, lifted the company's full-year organic operating profit by 39.9% to €334.4 million, beating the 38.6% forecast by analysts.
To reflect its confidence in the future, Rémy Cointreau said it would pay shareholders an ordinary dividend of €1.85 per share in cash and an exceptional dividend of €1.
The company reiterated its 2030 financial outlook and the goal to become a 'global leader in exceptional spirits', and said would achieve a gross margin of 72% and an operating margin of 33% by 2030.
This would compare with a gross margin of 68.6% and an operating margin of 25.5% achieved in 2021/22.