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Malmhake: Punitive Excise Increases 'Will Have Serious Consequences'

Anna Malmhake, the chief executive of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, has said that the "punitive" excise increases on spirits over the past year has meant that the group's Irish performance is in "stark contrast" to its successes overseas.

A 35% increase in excise on spirits (20% in December 2012 and 15% in October 2013) "has had a severe impact on the Irish market," Malmhake warned, following the release of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard's H1 results, for the period ending 31 December.

"While we recognise the financial constraints that the government is under," she said, "the recent series of punitive increases imposed on this vital part of the agri-food industry will have serious consequences, not only for established producers such as Irish Distillers but for new start-up Irish whiskey distilleries, publicans, retailers and all of their employees."

She called for the "reintroduction of the ban on below-cost selling", as was the case under the Groceries Order, and urged the government to "work with all stakeholders to develop and introduce evidence-based solutions that will address alcohol misuse instead of punishing the majority of consumers who drink responsibly, with relentless tax hikes."

In its H1 results, Pernod Ricard posted net sales worldwide of €4.57 billion, with profit from recurring operations up 2% to €1.36 billion. Jameson, in particular performed well, with 16% sales growth and 13% volume growth. In addition, a total of 54 markets for the drinks brand are now in double/triple digit growth worldwide.

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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