|Pernod Ricard whisky sales hit in China crackdown, but Martell cognac drives growth
French wines and spirits company Pernod Ricard said annual profit improved by 4 percent in a difficult year, as its operations in the US and emerging markets offset poor performance in Europe.
The company that distributes brands including Martell cognac, Absolut vodka, and Mumm champagne said net income was 1.2 billion euros, up from 1.1 billion euros last year. Pernod Ricard's fiscal year runs from July to June.
Net sales were also up 4 percent for the year, rising to 8.6 billion euros.
Much of the company's success over the past 12 months came from Asia and Africa, where profit from recurring operations was up 15 percent. By contrast, it dropped 18 percent in France and was down 2 percent in the rest of Europe.
Asia accounted for 40 percent of overall sales and Americas made up 27 percent. Europe, excluding France, accounted for 25 percent of sales.
Martell cognac propelled growth in Asia, growing by 16 percent for the year, the company said. The growth rate was underpinned by sales in China, Malaysia, Indonesia as well as through duty free retail.
Sales of Scotch whiskies were dragged down mainly by China, South Korea and Thailand.
Overall, Martell and Jameson whisky were the top performing brands in terms of sales, the company reported. Whisky and Mumm champagne sales slowed, while Absolut vodka sales grew 5 percent for the year.
Pernod Ricard said sales were slower in China compared with the previous financial year, but "remained buoyant'' at 9 percent. Growth was driven by double-digit increases for Martell, Jacobs Creek and Absolut. The crackdown on lavish consumption in China hit Scotch whisky sales and that of exclusive spirits priced above US$200.--AP/The Standard