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UPDATE 1-Remy Cointreau's Q2 sales boosted by demand in China and U.S.

* Like-for-like sales up 6.2 pct

* Q2 group reported sales 304.1 mln euros

* Keeps financial targets (Adds details on demand, guidance)

PARIS, Oct 17 (Reuters) - French spirits company Remy Cointreau on Tuesday said improving appetite in the United States for higher-end cognac had buoyed sales in its second quarter, while strong demand in China also drove growth and helped the company beat forecasts.

The group, known for its Remy Martin cognac, said like-for-like sales - which strip out currency swings and disposals or acquisitions - rose 6.2 percent between July and September from a year earlier.

Analysts had expected organic sales growth of around 5 percent on average, according to consensus estimates from brokers.

Remy Cointreau, which also makes Mount Gay rum and Cointreau liqueur, is focusing on pricier spirits at $50 a bottle or more to ramp up profit margins.

The pace of like-for-like sales growth was slightly slower than the 8 percent notched up in the April to June period, against less favourable comparisons from a year earlier.

Sales of cognac alone - Remy Cointreau's main earnings driver - were up 13.2 percent in the second quarter, compared to an 18.7 percent rise in the first, but that was also above expectations.

Remy Cointreau said the United States had performed solidly in the three months to September after a softer start to the year, while sales in Asia were also particularly strong.

The company added that an expansion phase in Africa was also helping drive up revenues.

In China, where Remy Cointreau is benefiting along with its peers from a recovery in demand, the company has been pushing its top-of-the-range Louis XIII cognac, which typically retails at $3000 a bottle.

Luxury goods companies and spirits groups were hit by an anti-corruption crackdown on expensive gifts in China in recent years, but private consumption, including that seen in middle-class households, is improving.

French spirits rival Pernod Ricard, which has chosen to launch cheaper brands in China, will publish a trading update on Oct. 19.

Remy Cointreau maintained its target to grow operating profit in its 2017-18 financial year on a comparable basis.

Like-for-like sales were 313 million euros ($369 million) in the second quarter, while revenues rose 3.2 percent to 304.1 million euros on a non-organic basis. The company's financial year runs from April to March.

($1 = 0.8490 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)