Remy Cointreau warns of 50-55% slump in first quarter sales due to coronavirusRemy Cointreau warns of 50-55% slump in first quarter sales due to coronavirus
The logo of Remy Cointreau SA is pictured in the Cointreau distillery in Saint-Barthelemy-d’Anjou near Angers

PARIS (Reuters) – French spirits company Remy Cointreau warned it expected sales to fall by around 50-55% in the first quarter of the 2020/21 fiscal year, due to wholesaler destocking in Greater China and a sharp slowdown in key European and American markets due to the coronavirus crisis.

The maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau anticipated a “very gradual” recovery in business during the second quarter of the year, and said it had reopened its French production sites in Cognac on April 14 and Angers on April 20.

Remy-Cointreau’s 2020/21 fiscal year started on April 1.

The group made the forecasts as it reported an 11.2% fall in like-for-like sales to 1.025 billion euros ($1.11 billion) for the 2019/20 fiscal year that ended on March 31, and predicted like-for-like current operating profit would fall by around 25%.

The coronavirus pandemic closed bars and restaurants and halted international travel first in Asia and subsequently in Europe and the United States, during the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter alone, revenue came in at 210.8 million euros, marking a like-for-like fall of 25.4%, slightly below company guidance issued earlier this month for a 26% slump.

($1 = 0.9217 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)