The French wines and spirits group, Pernod Ricard, posted consolidated sales, excluding duties and tax, of €3.66 billion in the nine months to the end of September 2002, 10% up on the corresponding period last year.

Consolidated sales at Pernod's wines and spirits division rose by 77% to €2.30 billion for the first nine months. The company reported that currency exchange had a €25m negative impact on sales, principally attributable to the weakness of the Argentine peso.

Sales from Seagram brands reached €939m, while sales from Pernod's existing products rose by 3.9% to €1.36 billion.

The overall nine-month sales figure came in slightly below the average of analysts' forecasts for around €3.70 billion. Sales for the quarter fell by 4.4% to €1.09 billion; analysts had been predicting around €1.16 billion.

However, Pernod Ricard confirmed its forecast for a twofold increase in operating profit for the full 2002 fiscal year, with an operating margin for the year of 20% and an EPS of €6.4.