Pernod Ricard has posted its figures for the first half of 2004. The French company also announced that it is lifting its 2004 operating profit target after posting a rise in net profit for the six-month period.

Group net profit was up by 4.7% to €169m, while profit after tax (before exceptionals and
goodwill amortisation) grew by the same percentage to €175m. Operating profit on a like-for-like basis was up by 11.1%, hitting €31m.

The currency effect on sales was a negative 3.2% but it was stronger on operating profit
(-10.6% equivalent to a reduction of €29.5m), the company said.

The company credited the rise in profits to the growth of its premium brands throughout the world. Chivas volumes grew by 11%, Martell by 8%, Jameson by 12% and The Glenlivet by 11%.

Commenting on these results, chairman Patrick Ricard stated: "I am delighted with the very good performance achieved on the first half year and the strong growth of our premium brands".

Pernod Ricard subsequently revised its prospects for this year upwards. "At present", he added "we expect (like-for-like) organic growth of 8% to 10% in operating profit".