Wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard has upgraded its predictions for full-year growth after reporting a rise in half-year sales and profits, despite declining sales in Western Europe and a 6% revenue fall in Britain. Sales increased 8% (organic growth: 11%) to Euro4,614m, driven by a 14% increase among its top 14 brands and an 18% rise in sales in emerging markets; growth in Asia and the rest of the world excluding Europe and the Americans was +15%. Profits increased 14% (organic growth: 17%) to Euro1,379m. Group share of net profit increased 20% to Euro800m. However, sales in Western Europe were down 2%, with Britain at -6% due to a decline in its wine business. Sales fell 11% in Italy and 5% in Spain, although they increased 2% in Germany. Sales in eastern and central Europe increased 15%, with a rise of 1% in the Americas and a 25% increase in its home market of France. Pierre Pringuet, chief executive of Pernod Ricard, said: “We are very pleased with the excellent business and financial performance of Pernod Ricard in the half year 2011/12. "It demonstrates the strength of our business model (vast portfolio of premium brands, wholly-owned global distribution network) as well as the pertinence of our choices (sustained brand investment, development in emerging markets): this constitutes a real competitive advantage in the current economic environment. “Confident in the continuation of solid underlying trends we hence upgrade our full year 2011/12 guidance as follows: organic growth in profit from recurring operations close to +8% and a net debt/EBITDA ratio close to 3.9 at 30 June 2012.”

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