Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH says sale of Hermes stake offset Chinese cognac sales fall

French luxury goods group LVMH blamed lower sales of high-end cognac to China for a 5-percent slide in core earnings last year, but its bottom line was rescued by the sale of a stake in handbag maker Hermes.

The fashion conglomerate behind Louis Vuitton, Dior and Hennessy says its net profit soared to 5.65 billion euros ($6.5 billion) last year, up 64 percent from 3.4 billion euros in 2013. The company booked a 2.81-billion-euro capital gain, selling its 23-percent share of Birkin bag maker Hermes in December.

LVMH said its core earnings fell 5 percent to 5.7 billion euros in 2014, after its high-end wines and spirits suffered from slower cognac sales in China.

The Paris-based luxury goods empire made sales of 30.6 billion euros in 2014.