Spirited performance lifts Pernod Ricard

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pernod ricard

Drinks giant Pernod Ricard lifted its full year sales forecast
Thursday thanks better-than-expected performances from its spirits
brands and a resurgent market in France.

Pernod, the world's second largest alcoholic drinks group since buying Allied Domecq, said net sales rose 7.3 per cent to €3.5bn for the six months ended 31 December.

The rise reinforced growing consumer demand for premium and luxury spirits brands, but also suggested signs of an upturn in the difficult French drinks market.

Pernod said it now expected organic sales to grow more than six per cent for the full year. Organic growth in the first half was 9.7 per cent.

The firm reported double-digit sales growth in Asia thanks to its Ballantine's and Martell brands, as well as local brands in India. More strong performances from local brands in South America completed an increase in emerging markets.

In the US, blockbuster brands like Stolichnaya, Jameson and The Glenlivet lifted the group.

Europe remained a tougher place to be during the second half of 2006, and last autumn international brewer Scottish & Newcastle warned of a depressed consumer atmosphere in the region.

Pernod's European sales rose 3.4 per cent, largely thanks to Ballantine's in Eastern Europe but also branded growth in Germany and Spain.

But the group was also buoyed in the region by a return to more solid growth in France, its home market.

Ballantine's, Havana Club and Chivas Regal helped the firm to up sales by three per cent in the country.

A four per cent rise for the Ricard brand also enabled the group to outperform a largely flat market for aniseed drink, pastis - which has suffered due to its 'old man' image among young French drinkers.

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