PARIS, June 8 (Reuters) - Remy Cointreau said it would increase its dividend after annual operating profits rose by a stronger-than-expected 13.8 percent, helped by cost controls and improving demand for its premium cognacs in China.
The maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liqueur, which is stepping up plans to sell higher-priced spirits in order to boost profit margins, said it also aimed to increase operating profits on a like-for-like basis in the current financial year.
Remy also raised its forecasts for the current operating margin for the financial year of 2019/20, as it was already ahead of initial targets.
Operating profit for the year ended March 31 rose to 226.1 million euros ($254.50 million), a margin of 20.7 percent of sales.
This was above the company-compiled consensus of analysts' forecasts for a profit of 211.5 million euros, and above a prediction for organic growth of 10.6 percent.
($1 = 0.8884 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)