Following its purchase of Seagram brands last year, the French spirits group, Pernod Ricard, could soon be looking to make further acquisitions, according to comments made by the company's chairman and chief executive, Patrick Ricard.

Ricard said that the company's debt should soon be low enough to allow it to consider further acquisitions. Pernod Ricard's share of the Seagram deal, which it split with Diageo, cost some €3.2 billion. The acquisition doubled the group's wine and spirits business but in the process increased Pernod Ricard's debt to €3.7 billion at the end of 2001.

However, the company has now revealed that debt has fallen faster than anticipated, standing at €2.7 billion at the end of June. It now anticipates that net debt should be equal to the company's equity by the end of the year. Ricard said that it "is still a lot but could allow us to do something."

Ricard did not specify where the company might be looking for its next acquisition but managing director, Richard Burrows, hinted that the company would be interested in expanding its wine business.