Drinks group Pernod Ricard has said that strong demand in its key US and Chinese markets contributed to a 19.1% jump in sales in the third quarter of its 2020/2021 fiscal year, ahead of analysts forecasts.
Pernod Ricard, which owns Jameson whiskey, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac among others, said that it expects sales to accelerate in the fourth quarter, thanks to continued business recovery and a gradual reopening of bars and restaurants worldwide, although travel retail would remain very subdued due to limited passenger traffic.
The group cited the 'dynamism of must-win domestic markets' as a factor in its performance, with the 'USA continuing to grow mid-single-digit, China at +34% in 9M and India back to double-digit growth in Q3'.
Elsewhere, Europe continued 'to display strong resilience,' it said, 'thanks in particular to scotch and specialty brands, despite COVID-related restrictions'.
It predicted an organic growth of around 10% in its full-year profit from recurring operations.
Pernod, the world's second-biggest spirits group after Diageo, reported sales of €1.96 billion ($2.35 billion) in the three months to 31 March, up 19.1% on a like-for-like basis, beating analysts' expectations of 11.3% growth.
That performance marked a return to sales growth, after the previous two quarters showed a decline.
Sales for the first nine months reached €6.9 billion, an organic growth of 1.7%, with sales in the United States, where it recently declared its interest in the hard seltzer market, continuing to grow at a mid-single digit pace.
In China alone, Pernod Ricard recorded triple-digit growth during the third quarter, boosted by an "excellent" performance during the Chinese New Year festivities.
The group, however, faced an easier comparison basis this year, notably in China where COVID-19 restrictions that shut bars and clubs were largely implemented in March 2020.
Pernod Ricard also set an interim dividend of €1.33. Pernod Ricard's fiscal year starts on 1 July. [Pic:©Monticello/123RF.COM]