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Pernod upbeat despite economic gloom

Published:  20 July, 2009

Pernod Ricard has reported a "highly satisfactory" performance in its past year of trading, despite what it admits is a "difficult economic environment".

The spirits giant will formally issue its results for the 12 months to June 30 in September, but in a trading update predicted that "annual sales should grow by about 9%, with organic growth close to flat".

The integration of Vin & Sprit - the Swedish business which owned Absolut vodka - accounts for much of the net growth.

The statement said: "Following a strong increase over the first half-year, Pernod Ricard's sales growth slowed down over the second half: this was due to the overall decline in consumption, as well as to destocking by wholesalers and distributors, which primarily occurred over the third quarter.

"The fourth quarter sales trend improved, in line with our expectations, with negative organic growth of about 3%. The major emerging markets (China, India) continued to grow strongly.

"The performance of other markets remained contrasting, with countries such as France, Australia, Sweden and Canada reporting growth and others such as Ireland, Italy, South Korea, and Japan continuing to experience difficult situations."