Pernod Ricard Q1 sales boosted by international brands, growth in China

Pernod Ricard, the world’s no 2 spirits company by sales reported a 2% revenue growth in the first quarter ended 30 September. The spirits maker said that sales rose to €2.29bn ($2.69bn), up from €2.25bn in the previous year.

The company said sales received a boost from its international brands, which grew 8% in the period and includes names like Absolut vodka, Jameson Irish Whisky, Ballantine’s and Malibu. The firm notes that its wines also had a strong quarter, posting 8% growth.

“We have had a very good start to the year, with our growth accelerating and diversifying in terms of both markets and brands,” said CEO Alexandre Ricard.

The spirits maker said that its first quarter sales were driven by a stepped-up Chinese demand for its high-margin Martell cognac and Chivas whisky resulting in 15% revenue growth.

The US market, the company’s largest kept its momentum with Jameson Irish whiskey continuing to grow at a double-digit rate while travel retail sales saw improvement from the previous year. Overall, sales in the US rose 4%, with Absolut vodka still in decline in a competitive environment, the company said.

The group said that its Indian business is recovering from a ban imposed by the Indian government on alcohol sales near highways. The firm recorded 2% growth in the quarter, an improvement from the 1% in the prior year.

In France, Pernod Ricard’s home market, the company said that sales declined 4% in what it describes as a deflationary environment that has impacted all consumer goods companies. Elsewhere in Europe, the company said it saw a 3% growth, with strong sales in Eastern Europe and a modest growth in Western Europe and a slow start in Spain.

Middle East and Africa saw double-digit growth, largely driven by favourable basis of comparison. In the previous year, the region had been marred by macroeconomic headwinds and geopolitical context in the Middle East.

Pernod reiterated that a gradual improvement in its performance was expected from the second quarter.

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