Pernod Ricard eyes full year profit growth after sales beat forecasts

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French spirits group Pernod Ricard said strong demand in its key U.S. and Chinese markets underpinned a 19.1% jump in sales in the third quarter of its 2020/2021 fiscal year, beating analysts’ forecasts.

Pernod Ricard, which owns Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, expected sales to accelerate in the fourth quarter, and predicted organic growth of around 10% in full year profit from recurring operations.

Pernod Ricard’s fiscal year starts on July 1.

Pernod, the world’s second-biggest spirits group after Diageo, reported sales of 1.955 billion euros ($2.35 billion) in the three months to March 31 – up 19.1% on a like-for-like basis, beating analysts’ expectations of 11.3% growth.

That performance marked a return to sales growth, after the previous two quarters showed a decline in sales.

In China alone, Pernod Ricard recorded triple-digit growth during the third quarter, boosted by an “excellent” performance during the Chinese New Year festivities.

The group, however, faced an easier comparison basis this year, notably in China where COVID-19 restrictions that shut bars and clubs were largely implemented in March 2020.

Pernod Ricard also set an interim dividend of 1.33 euros.

Photo: Bottles of some Pernod Ricard group brands Ricard, and Absolut Wodka are displayed in the company headquarters in Paris, France. EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

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