Pernod Ricard First-Quarter Sales Jump on China, India Growth

(Bloomberg) -- Pernod Ricard started its fiscal year with an upbeat tone as demand for premium foreign spirits in China and India soars amid rising incomes. The boon in Asia echoes last week’s strong performance by rival LVMH’s wine and spirits division, which includes Belvedere vodka and Moet & Chandon champagne.

Sales at the world’s second-largest distiller grew by 10.4 percent on an organic basis in the first quarter, the company said Thursday, beating the average analyst forecast for 7.9 percent. While growth in Europe and the Americas was uninspiring, Asia and the rest of the world surged 23 percent, with China and India doing notably well.

Key Insights

  • While the company is benefiting from growth in China and India, the decline in emerging market currencies took a bit out of sales: Reported growth was much slower, at 7.2 percent, because of declines in the Indian rupee and Turkish lira.
  • Pernod Ricard on Thursday reiterated its prediction of 5 percent to 7 percent profit growth. In August, the Paris-based company had increased the forecast by a percentage point, on the back of strong demand in Asia, where it sells brands such as Martell cognac and Ballantine’s Finest Scotch whisky.
  • Pernod Ricard has begun returning more cash to shareholders, proposing a higher dividend from fiscal 2017, reflecting the company’s accelerating growth and reduced debt.
  • The distiller was weighing the sale of its Wall Street and Natu Nobilis whiskies in Latin America, people familiar with the situation said in August, as part of a wider effort to reorient investment to faster-growing products.

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  • For more on Pernod Ricard’s numbers, click here.

Market Reaction

  • Pernod shares have lost 0.8 percent this year including dividends, compared with a 4.9 percent loss for a Stoxx 600 index of food and beverage stocks.

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