Pernod Ricard has refused to be drawn on reports claiming that it is considering the sale of its coffee liqueur brand Tia Maria.

The company is believed to be mulling over the sale of a number of its brands, including Wild Turkey bourbon, in a bid to offload EUR1bn (US$1.28bn) of assets in an effort to reduce debt.

When contacted by just-drinks today (24 November), a spokesperson for Pernod said the company "does not comment on sales and acquisitions unless confirmed by a statement".

It is understood Pernod needs to offload assets following its EUR5.7bn acquisition of Absolut Vodka earlier this year. Alluding to the current financial market problems, outgoing-CEO Patrick Ricard said earlier this month that "now, we could not buy it, so we were lucky".

Earlier this month, Pernod reaffirmed its plan to concentrate on cutting debt until 2012, all but ruling out acquisitions. Speaking at Pernod's AGM in Paris, Ricard said that the drinks giant's main objective was to "drive down debt".

Ricard said that Pernod had a "strong capability" to pay back loans via its strong cash flow and planned disposals of certain assets.

Suggested potential buyers for Tia Maria include Bacardi, Constellation and Brown-Forman, analysts told the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.