Pernod Ricard, the wine and spirits company, has reported a 5% rise in sales in the third quarter of 2012/2012 to Euro1,701m as it announced that it has completed its Euro2.5bn refinancing. In the UK, sales recovered in Q3 partly due to an early Easter, although they are down 4% across the nine months. Overall organic sales growth in the quarter increased by 3%. “The very favourable underlying trends of the first half of the year continued into the third quarter, with buoyant sustained growth of strategic brands and an increase in relative significance of the Premium portfolio. The Premium brands thus accounted for 73% of sales to 31 March 2012.” Like-for-like sales across the nine month of the year were up 7% to Euro6,315m, including organic growth of 9%, with 17% growth in emerging markets and 3% in mature markets. Sales were down across Western Europe by 1% over the nine months, with Italy at -12% and Spain at -5%, mitigated by strong performance in Germany (+8%), which was partly bolstered by price increases. There was stronger performance in Asia and the rest of the world (+15%), China (+22%) and the Americas (+5%). In Eastern Europe, sales increased 15%, driven by Russia (+29%). Yesterday Pernod Ricard announced that it had refinanced its debt from its acquisition of Absolute Vodka producer Vin & Sprit in 2008 after securing a new Euro2.5bn credit facility. The company and its 25-strong banking group has signed a five-year multi-currency revolving credit facility, which will be used for “general corporate purposes” as well as for refinancing debt. Pierre Pringuet, chief executive of Pernod Ricard, said today: “We are very pleased with the group’s performance over the first nine months, on the back of which we can confirm our targets for the current financial year. We are delighted to have concluded a new syndicated credit facility with extremely attractive terms, thus completing the group’s refinancing.” Analysts Gideon Adler and Martin Deboo at Investec issued a Buy recommendation on the back of this morning’s results, and said: “Pernod Ricard has reported the Q3 IMS, delivering organic net sales growth of 3% against a consensus of -0.2%, a beat driven partly by strong momentum in their core markets, but also by the deferred impact of distributor de-stocking in France, half of which will now impact Q4. “Guidance for the full year has been maintained, and the new credit facility confirmed. In the round, this is a decent result, with the strong H1 run rate maintained into H2. We remain Buyers and continue to be positive on spirits into 2012.”