French spirits group Remy Cointreau has beaten third-quarter sales forecasts and said it was confident that demand for its premium cognac in China, the US and Europe would underpin profit growth this year.
For the 2021/22 full year, Remy Cointreau kept a forecast of "very strong" organic growth in current operating profit and strong organic sales growth.
It reiterated it was confident in its ability to outperform the premium spirits market.
For the three months to December 31, group sales came in at €440.5m, an organic rise of 21%. That beat a company-compiled consensus from 18 analysts for €415.6m.
Sales at the Remy Martin cognac division, which makes 90% of the group profits, rose 19.4% to €332.7m, also above analysts' estimates of €317.7m.
The group said the third quarter performance reflected "remarkable" sales growth in China led by demand for its Club cognac, strong e-commerce sales during the Singles' Day online shopping bonanza and demand ahead of the Chinese New Year that starts on February 1.
Cognac demand in the US also remained strong in the third quarter, with high-end brands such as Louis XIII cognac that sells for over $2,000 a bottle, Remy Martin XO and 1738 Accor Royal outperforming.
The Covid pandemic has boosted Remy Cointreau's drive towards higher-priced spirits to boost profit margins long term.
It has accelerated a shift among consumers towards premium drinks, at-home consumption, cocktails and e-commerce.
Due to higher marketing and communication spending and a tougher comparison base in the second half, full-year profits will be driven solely by first-half growth, the group reiterated.