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Pernod Ricard gives more upbeat outlook after strong Q3

[PARIS] French spirits maker Pernod Ricard said on Thursday that sales growth accelerated sharply in the third quarter, leading Pernod to give a more optimistic financial outlook compared to before.

Pernod's sales growth reflected strong demand in China and in the United States, and it also beat market expectations.

Pernod, the world's second-biggest spirits group after Britain's Diageo, said it was firming up its profit growth outlook for the full year and would also progressively increase dividend distribution over the next three years.

The company posted sales of 1.977 billion euros (S$3.1 billion) in the three months to March 31, a 9.3 per cent rise on a like-for-like basis, and a sharp acceleration from 4.6 per cent growth in the second quarter.

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This was above the average of analysts' estimates for 6.6 per cent growth in a consensus of analysts compiled by Inquiry Financial for Reuters.

The owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac said it now expected organic growth in profit from recurring operations at around 6 per cent for the full year ending June 30 - at the top of guidance given back in February.

In February, Pernod had said it expected growth between 4 per cent and 6 per cent.