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French drinks firm Pernod Ricard confident about Asia prospects

By Dominique Vidalon and Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS (Reuters) – Pernod Ricard is confident about its prospects in Asia, helped by cognac and scotch whisky demand in China, the French drinks company’s Asia boss said on Tuesday.

“Despite the pandemic and the many uncertainties we have to navigate through, our business is resilient, rebounding and continuing its transformation,” Pernod Ricard Asia Chairman and Chief Executive Philippe Guettat said on a company YouTube presentation.

Guettat confirmed during a call with analysts the group’s medium-term ambition for sales growth rates of high single to low double digits for China and low double digits for India.

China and India are the group’s two largest markets after the United States, each accounting for about 10% of group sales.

In China, cognac demand was booming in night clubs and was strong in restaurants, with customers spending heavily following the COVID crisis as they were travelling less, Guettat said.

There was also strong demand for scotch whisky in China with strong double digit growth for all brands, including Chivas, Ballantines and Glenlivet. Scotch was attracting a younger crowd, aged below 30.

The South East Asia market remained difficult as the pandemic was hitting tourism and a recovery was not expected before the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, Guettat said.

Pernod said in April it expected 10% group organic profit growth for its 2020/2021 financial year after strong demand in its U.S. and Chinese markets helped the French spirits group beat third quarter sales forecasts.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair)



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