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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

French drinks giant Pernod Ricard's decision to sell off its non-drinks interests has hit its sales revenues by 27%, but the company is still anticipating a pre-tax profit rise of 5% before exceptional items, according to 2003 sales figures released last week. Presenting the figures at a press lunch in London, the company's joint managing director Richard Burrows said that that the strength of the euro (in which Pernod Ricard trades), against the dollar in particular, had hit actual sales revenue from its wine and spirit operation by 8.3% during 2003. On a like-for-like basis at stable currency rates, however, the company had shown organic growth of 8.1% for its wines and spirits division, and 5.5% for the total group. Among the brands showing strongest growth were the rejuvenated ex-Seagram's pair of Chivas (+7%) and Martell (+8%), while Jacob's Creek (+14%), Havana Club (+11%), Jameson (+8%) and The Glenlivet (+7%) also posted strong performances. There was further good news for the company from the US Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The body upheld Pernod Ricard's registration of the Havana Club name in the United States, a claim disputed by bitter rivals Bacardi, who are likely to appeal.