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Pernod Ricard in high spirits as India, China sales drive growth

Maker of Martell cognac and Mumm champagne has given investors a 17% dividend hike

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Bottles of Monkey 47, Martell and Jameson beverages produced by French drinks maker Pernod Ricard. The company also forecast a boost in the July-September period from an earlier Mid-Autumn Festival in China, where it banks on a thirst for premium drinks from a fast rising middle-class.

Paris

FRENCH SPIRITS maker Pernod Ricard on Wednesday said sales and profit growth accelerated in full year 2017/18, driven by strong demand in China and India, as well as robust sales in the United States, its top market.

The maker of Martell cognac and Mumm champagne handed investors a 17 per cent dividend hike.

For the year ahead, Pernod - the world's second-biggest spirits group behind Britain's Diageo - forecast further profit growth despite an uncertain geopolitical and monetary climate. It gave no further details.

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Pernod Ricard predicted a "very strong" first quarter, saying it would benefit from a low comparison base in India where it has faced setbacks including a ban on liquor outlets.

It also forecast a boost in the July-September period from an earlier Mid-Autumn Festival in China, where it banks on a thirst for premium drinks from a fast rising middle-class.

Pernod Ricard forecast underlying profit growth from recurring operations of between 5 per cent and 7 per cent for the full year ending June 30, 2019. This would compare with the 6.3 per cent rise achieved in the 2017/2018 financial year, when profits came in at 2.4 billion euros (S$3.80 billion), - in line with an average forecast of 2.36 billion euros in an Inquiry Financial poll for Thomson Reuters.

Sales growth for the 2017/18 full-year accelerated to 6 percent from 3.6 per cent the previous year, spurred by a 17 per cent jump in China, 14 per cent in India and 4 per cent in the United States. REUTERS