Pernod Ricard beats estimates
Pernod Ricard, maker of Jameson and Absolut vodka, said sales in markets including China, Russia and the US offset declines in southern Europe and France.
Pernod Ricard, France's largest distiller, reported first-half earnings that beat estimates as sales in markets including China, Russia and the US offset declines in southern Europe and France.
Operating profit excluding some items rose 5.8 per cent to €1.46 billion in the six months through December from €1.38 billion a year earlier, the maker of Absolut vodka and Jameson whiskey said today in a statement. The median estimate of 11 analysts was €1.43 billion.
Profit advanced 1 per cent on a so-called organic basis, compared with a 0.5 per cent median estimate. Paris-based Pernod said in October it expects full-year organic earnings growth to decelerate to about 6 per cent this year on waning sales growth in emerging markets and as the company experiences continued pressure in European countries.
Sales rose 3 per cent excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency fluctuations, compared with an estimated 2.2 per cent increase. Sales edged up 1 per cent in the second quarter.
Irish Distillers brand Jameson showed strong growth in the first half of the year, rising by 13 per cent in sales and 7 per cent in volume. In the US, Jameson was one of the main drivers of growth, rising by 24 per cent.
That success was also evident in Ireland, where Jameson continued to top the whiskey market.
The company said there were a number of "encouraging" brand and category performances throughout the year in the Irish market, with gin and rum showing significant growth for Irish Distillers.
The Malibu brand performed particularly well for the group in Ireland, recording 50 per cent growth. Havana Club, meanwhile, grew by 22 per cent.
Overall, group sale in Europe for the Pernod Ricard portfolio showed an ongoing "bipolarisation", Pernod said, as demand improved in Russia and western and southern Europe, including Spain, stayed challenging. Organic sales slid 1 per cent. Sales in France, its home market, declined comparatively as a tax increase at the start of 2012 inflated first-half sales a year ago.
Eurozone sales represented 20 per cent of its revenue this half, the company said. Diageo Plc, the world's biggest distiller, has reported profit growth of 9 per cent for the six months through December as it shifted away from the depressed economies of Europe.
Group sales and profitability increased at its Asia/Rest of World unit as the company sold more cognac and were only "marginally impacted" by the later timing of Chinese New Year delaying shipments. Competitor Remy Cointreau SA has said that Asian sales have been "very strong" even as the Chinese New Year fell on a later date this year than in 2012, leading to revenue being booked in a later quarter for them.
Whiskey sales in Asia slowed, as demand waned in South Korea, it said.
Additional reporting: Bloomberg