By Francesca Landini
MILAN (Reuters) - Italian beverage group Campari <CPRI.MI> reported a 6.6 percent year-on-year rise in organic sales in the first nine months, accelerating from a 5.4 percent increase in the first half led by strong demand for its orange Aperol liqueur.gi
Aperol sales soared 31 percent in the January-September period, the group said, while its Campari, Wild Turkey bourbon and Espolon tequila also supported growth but SKYY vodka continued to weigh.
"Looking at the remainder of the year, the net sales organic growth is expected to be driven by the key high-margin brands ... with the exception of SKYY, which will continue to be negatively impacted by destocking in the United States," the Milan-based group said in a statement.
Organic sales strip out currency swings and any acquisitions or sales of assets.
Adjusted operating profit came in at 259.2 million euros between January and September, with a margin of 21.6 percent up from 20.9 percent in the same period of 2017.
Shares in Campari turned positive after the results and were up 3.65 percent by 0940 GMT.
Net financial debt was 914 million euros at the end of September, down from 982 million euros at the end of last year.
(Editing by Valentina Za; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)