just The Preview - Pernod Ricard H1 & Q2
Pernod Ricard to report half-year figures on 16 February
Pernod Ricard is set to report its half-year and second-quarter results on Thursday (16 February). Here, just-drinks takes a look at highs and lows for the company in the three months to the end of December.
- Pernod began the second quarter within sight of achieving its targeted "investment grade" credit rating. Ratings agency Standard & Poor's joined rival Moody's in nudging the company into investment grade territory, but only on the proviso that the French drinks giant doesn't loosen its purse strings for a big acquisition too soon.
- Shortly after this, Pernod announced its latest round of executive appointments, triggered by the departure of the MD of its Casa Pedro Domecq division. François Bouyra, who headed up the Mexican affiliate for six years, left the company due to “personal reasons” and was replaced by Cédric Retailleau, previously MD of Pernod Ricard Venezuela Cluster. Meanwhile, Denis Fiévet was appointed MD of Pernod's business in Portugal, replacing Armando de Medeiros.
- In mid-October, Pernod and Diageo dominated an inaugural list of the world's top performing spirits brands, collated by just-drinks and The IWSR on the basis of volume, retail value and five-year growth, as well as a just-drinks reader survey. Diageo's Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff came first and second, but Pernod's Absolut came third.
- Towards the end of the month, Pernod took advantage of its improved credit rating to refinance debt via a US$1.5bn bond issue. The notes issued, which will mature in January 2022, were almost four times oversubscribed.
- As October drew to a close, Pernod confirmed that it had mixed white rum and Tequila to develop Malibu Red, which will launch in the US early in 2012, in partnership with R&B music star Ne-Yo. At 35% abv, the Malibu variant would be priced at a slight premium to regular Malibu, it said.
- In early November, just-drinks' senior reporter, Michelle Russell, flew to New York and interviewed the international brand development director for Pernod Ricard's Irish Distillers division, Simon Fay. No surprise that Jameson's success dominated the chat. "The next milestone we are setting for ourselves will be 3m cases in the course of our four-year plan [in the US], which will get us to 2015," he said of the brand. A few weeks earlier, Pernod launched a TV ad campaign for Jameson in the US.
- In Sweden, Pernod confirmed the appointment of a new VP for global marketing at The Absolut Company. Jonas Tåhlin has assumed the role, after Anna Malmhake left to become CEO and chair of Irish Distillers.
- In mid-November, Pernod launched a global marketing campaign for Jacob's Creek wine. Under the tag 'Always Stay True', the campaign featured TV, print, digital, social media and point-of-sale advertising.
- Towards the end of November, just-drinks took a closer look at China's Cognac market. Analyst group Sanford Bernstein concluded that Cognac's explosive value sales growth in China shows no sign of slowing, with Pernod's Martell brand best-placed to capitalise on demand.
- Sticking with China, the end of November saw Pernod become the exclusive importer in the country for a new range of wines headed by ex-basketball star Yao Ming. Yao Family Wines released its first wine, a 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, under the Yao Ming brand name.
- Early in December, Irish Distillers said that it would create 60 jobs as part of its plan to expand the Midleton distillery. The expansion will create an extra 30 jobs at the facility and a further 30 at its bottling plant in Dublin, bringing the company workforce to 560.
- In travel retail, Pernod said it would target the 'entertaining at home' trend through a campaign for its Chivas Regal Scotch whisky brand in Europe's airports. 'The Art of Hosting', which launched in December, runs until the end of June next year.
- In mid-December, a report by just-drinks and The IWSR highlighted Pernod's desire to breathe new life into absinthe by targeting its own namesake brand of the controversial spirit toward the arts and fashion world. Pernod absinthe currently sells around 15,000 cases annually worldwide.
- In late December, just-drinks analysed the potential knock-on effects of Beam Inc's acquisition of Cooley Distillery. Did a takeover of Beam by either Pernod or Diageo just get a little bit harder to organise?
- At the end of the quarter, just-drinks marked ten years since Diageo and Pernod's carve-up of Seagram. Many of the brands remain highly relevant. At a time when emerging markets across Asia, Africa and Latin America are increasingly driving growth, Martell and Chivas are right in the thick of it.
For Pernod's share price data, click here.
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