The chief executive of the French wines and spirit group Pernod Ricard is expecting the company to grow its operating profit by 6-8% every year over the next three to five years, he said at a news conference after unveiling the company's full year results yesterday.

He added that the company also expects organic sales growth of 4-6%, while over the same period the company's key brands should grow volumes by 2-4%.

The company seemed to indicate that the outlook for 2004 was more positive than last year.

Pernod Ricard managing director Pierre Pringuet said: "The global environment in 2004 looks more satisfying than in 2003." Meanwhile, on growth in France, a problem market for the company in 2003, Patrick Ricard said he is "reasonably confident" for the outlook.