Pernod has Absolut confidence in FY guidance

Pernod has Absolut confidence in FY guidance

Pernod Ricard has reported falls in profits and sales for its fiscal half-year, but the French drinks group maintained full-year guidance.

Like-for-like sales for the six months to the end of December fell by 3% on the same period of 2008, to EUR3.79bn (US$5bn), Pernod Ricard said today (18 February). Net sales fell by 10% on a reported basis.

Net profits fell by 2% to EUR604m, with profits from recurring operations registering a 5% decline due to unfavourable foreign currency rates against the euro.

Like rival Diageo, Pernod said that it expects an improved second half, driven by lower comparisons in the same period of last year and a recovery in emerging markets in Asia and Travel Retail.

"These factors enable us to confirm our guidance for organic growth of 1% to 3% in profits from recurring operations for the full 2009/10 financial year, while increasing the investment in strategic brands and markets,” said Pernod CEO Pierre Pringuet.

Price/mix remained favourable in the half-year, said the owner of Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal Scotch whisky.

The group highlighted efforts to cut debt, one of its major focus points over the last 12 months. Net debt fell by EUR565m in the half-year, to EUR10.3bn at the end of December, due to the disposal of the Tia Maria brand and strong cash generation.

Pernod's share price stayed broadly flat at EUR57 in early trading today.

For the full announcement, click here.