Pernod Ricard hails profit growth
Published:  03 September, 2009

Pernod Ricard has posted a 21% increase in annual profits, boosted by the contribution made by the Absolut vodka brand it acquired from Vin & Sprit.

The French spirits giant said it had improved margins and reduced debts, but warned that the wine and spirits industry was facing “stagnation”.

The company’s 14 strategic brands (excluding Absolut) declined by 4% in volume, and registered flat sales growth, according to Pernod’s results, published today.

But five of the brands – Martell, Jameson, The Glenlivet, Mumm and Havana Club – did achieve sales increases.

Perrier-Jouët Champagne sales were down 11%, a decline blamed on the struggling US on-trade. And although Montana sales grew in the wine brand’s principal markets, overall sales were down 13%, reflecting “a significant destocking effect” among customers, Pernod said.

Profits from recurring operations stood at €1,846 million. The Americas region performed best, with a 51% sales increase created by the addition of Absolut and a favourable exchange rate. European sales were up just 1%.

Chief executive Pierre Pringuet described the global performance as “very satisfactory”, though he warned that “the general economic environment will remain difficult”.

He added: “We start 2009-10 with confidence and determination. Our priorities are clear: continue to reduce debt, and strengthen investments behind our strategic brands.”