Advance by LVMH lifts Guinness share price

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The Independent Online
GUINNESS shares yesterday climbed 14p to 489p, largely in response to a 3.6 per cent rise in first-quarter sales at Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy, the French drinks, luggage and perfumes group in which it has a 24 per cent cross-shareholding.

LVMH said turnover for the first three months of 1993, after exchange rate adjustments, rose from Fr4.53bn (pounds 543m) to Fr4.69bn. Profit figures were not disclosed.

Champagne sales crept ahead, but LVMH warned that profits from that line of business were well below prior- year levels.

Cognac and spirits sales, it said, grew strongly in China and Hong Kong, but there was no pick-up in demand in Japan.

Total wine and spirits turnover improved from Fr1.86bn to Fr1.9bn.

Sales of luggage and leather goods fell from Fr1.27bn to Fr1.19m but were in line with the company's target. Demand since March, however, had improved.

Growth in perfumes and beauty products was underpinned by recent launches by Parfums Christian Dior of Dior Svelte and Capture Lift.

Total sales from that division advanced from Fr1.2bn to Fr1.4bn.

Remy Cointreau, the rival but smaller French wines and spirits group, also released figures yesterday, showing a decline in turnover from Fr6.5bn to Fr5.8bn for the year to March.

Net profits for the 1992/3 year, which will be announced in July, are expected by Remy to show a fall from Fr271m to Fr200m.

Turnover for the core Cognac business fell 12.8 per cent to Fr2.5bn, depressed by flat sales in the UK, US and Japan. Like LVMH, the company lifted sales in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.