Pernod CEO rues Havana Club stagnation

Pernod Ricard’s CEO Piere Pringuet has spoken out about Havana Club’s flat half-year sales growth, branding its performance “disappointing”.

The brand, which is a joint venture with Corporación Cuba Ron, has historically shown double-digit growth but in the half-year leading to December 2011 the brand suffered in its key markets of Italy and Spain.

Pringuet also attributed the static sales growth to the disruption caused by a change of distributor in Chile.

Except for Kahlua – which saw volumes drop by 2% during the period - Havana Club was the only of Pernod Ricard’s ‘Top 14’ brands not to register growth. Both sales and volume growth of the brand stood at 0%.

Pringuet said he had "no doubt Havana Club will return to double-digit growth" but would not be drawn on whether that would happen in the second half of Pernod's fiscal year.

Meanwhile Pernod has also announced that the launch of Ritual by Havana Club to the Spanish market is imminent.

Pringuet said the variant should bolster sales in Spain - a large rum market - and help to compete with leading brands such as Brugal.

He said the new expression would be “smoother than the sharper Cuban style of Havana Club”, that it would “appeal to men and women” and is a “mixable” style of rum.