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China's thirst for cognac helps Remy's profits beat forecasts

PARIS, June 6 (Reuters) - Remy Cointreau handed investors a special dividend of one euros per share after its annual operating profits rose by a stronger-than-expected 14.2%, helped by cost controls and robust demand for its premium cognacs in China.

The maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liqueur said its strategy of selling higher-priced spirits to boost profit margins was delivering strong results, and the company said it had met its margin goals one year in advance.

Operating profits for the year ended March 31 rose to 263.6 million euros ($296 million).

This translated into a margin of 21.7% of sales at constant exchange rates and business structure, marking an organic gain of 1.3 percentage points from the previous year.

The results beat the consensus of analysts' forecasts for profits of 260.2 million euros, and a prediction for organic profit growth of 13.4%.

($1 = 0.8905 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)