Groupe Pernod Ricard 's three sectors enjoyed very satisfactory growth during the first quarter, in terms of volume and turnover. Wines and spirits, the Group's core businesses, saw the value of sales increase by 15.5% (of which organic growth: 9.4%). The fruit processing and distribution sector grew respectively by 35.3% (of which organic growth: 4.6%) and by 34.5% (of which organic growth: 7.2%). The Groupe's sales ( Euros 917.8 million, excluding duties and taxes), rose by 27.4% (of which organic growth: 7.2%, acquisitions : 15.7% and currency adjustments : 5.1%). Where volumes are concerned, the Group's major brands enjoyed excellent performance. Ricard, the leading spirit brand in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as the third largest brand world-wide, experienced a 6% increase despite the rise in price for aniseeds. Now no.1 in the French market, Clan Campbell scotch has improved its overall sales volumes by 22.5 %. Highly depressed by the disappearance of intra-European duty-free sales, Jameson volumes have nonetheless grown by 5.6% (+16.2 % excluding duty free). As a result of now being handled by the Groupe's network in the United States and in Japan, Wild Turkey has seen volumes grow by 30 %. And Havana Club continues its success story within its major markets (+11.8%). In the wine sector, which has increased by 4% overall, Jacob's Creek volumes have improved by 11.3 %, thereby spearheading the share held by new-world wines. The Groupe's juice and soft drink sector have also enjoyed a positive start to the year (+ 6%) and fruit preps have grown by nearly +3% in volume. "In our industry, the first quarter is not always significant. However, indications at the start of the second quarter confirm my optimism for the year 2000," stated Patrick Ricard, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard.