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LVMH First-Half Profit Rises 2%, Reiterates 2007 Outlook

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods group, reported a 2 percent rise in first half net profit on Thursday helped by growth in Europe, the United States and Asia.

The maker of Dior perfume and Dom Perignon champagne said net profit in the six months to June 30 was 834 million euros ($1.15 billion), up from 817 million euros a year earlier and compared with the average forecast in a Reuters poll for 840 million euros.

First half profit from recurring operations rose 11 percent to 1.440 billion euros on sales up 6 percent at 7.412 billion euros. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast operating profit of 1.413 billion euros on sales of 7.389 billion euros.

"Numerous product launches, geographic expansion in targeted, high potential markets and growing success with new clients should allow LVMH to continue its progress in the second half of the year in a favourable economic environment," Chairmman and Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said in a statement.

"All these elements enable us to confirm our objective of a significant increase in results for 2007," he added.

LVMH shares closed down 2.2 percent at 80.25 euros on Thursday. Based on that price, the stock has risen by around 0.4 percent since the start of 2007, slightly less than a 2 percent gain in France's benchmark CAC-40 index.