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Pernod Ricard Raises Full-Year Guidance After Strong First-Half Showing

February 8, 2018

Benefiting from a solid performance in the U.S. and renewed dynamism in China, Pernod Ricard posted sales up 5% to €5.1 billion ($6.3b) on an organic basis for its fiscal first half through December, with profit from recurring operations rising 5.7% to €1.5 billion ($1.8b). After the strong first half, chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard said the company has raised its profit forecast to a range of 4%-6%—up from the previous 3%-5%—for its fiscal year ending in June.

In the U.S., where sales were up 3%, Pernod continues to be driven by Jameson, whose sales grew by 13% in Nielsen channels and 18% in control states, respectively. Absolut declined by about 3% in both Nielsen and control states, although its recent Lime flavor has been well-received. Among Pernod’s other key brands, Martell Cognac—buoyed by its Blue Swift and VS Single Distillery expressions—is taking share within the fast-rising Cognac category, Pernod said, adding that Tequilas Altos and Avion are also in strong growth.

Meanwhile, Pernod’s progress accelerated markedly in a number of international markets, including Brazil (+11%), China (+8%), India (+9%), Japan (+5%), the U.K. (+8%) and Russia (+15%). In China, Martell is leading the charge, with sales up 5%, while Chivas Regal, Absolut, Ballantine’s and Jacob’s Creek are also on the rise.

In conjunction with its half-year results, Pernod unveiled a slate of executive changes across its global business this morning. Among them, Christian Porta, currently chairman and CEO of Pernod’s EMEA and Latin America regions, will assume the newly created role of managing director, global business development. Gilles Bogaert, currently managing director of finance, will replace Porta as chairman and CEO of EMEA and Latin America. Also, Jean-Christophe Coutures, currently chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers, will become chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, and Conor McQuaid, currently executive vice president of global business development, will replace Coutures at Irish Distillers. —Daniel Marsteller

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