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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Allied Domecq toasts profit rise
Spirits sales are robust, but not exactly sizzling
Drinks giant Allied Domecq has reported a 6% rise in half-year profits, boosted by renewed demand in Spain and the US.

The company behind drinks from Malibu rum to Beefeater gin unveiled pre-tax profits of 266m ($470.5m) for the six months to 29 February.

But Allied's success in Spain and the US was offset by weaker sales in Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The UK group said sales of other top brands, including Sacuza tequila and Courvoisier cognac, had also improved.

Sales boost

A strong recovery in the Spanish market helped push European trading profits up 10% to 64m, Allied Domecq said.

The group, which also owns Montana wines in New Zealand and Perrier Jouet champagnes, said overall spirits and wine sales rose by 3%.

Allied - which is the world's second biggest spirits group - is keen to develop its wine making portfolio, but recently lost out to Swiss rival Hess in a bid to acquire Australian company Peter Lehmann Wines.

Allied's shares have outperformed the FTSE-100 index by 26% over the past year, bouncing back from a low in March 2003 of 256.75p.

However, in mid morning trade in London shares in the group had slipped 8p to 456.75p

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