Blog: Olly WehringPernod & co see light at the end of the tunnel

Olly Wehring | 21 October 2009

Another day, another arduous task presented to just-drinks at TFWA expo in Cannes. Last night, we forced down a five-course Pernod Ricard dinner, while chewing the proverbial fat on everything from the economy to French civilisation.

We agree with analysts that Pernod is likely to post a fall in first quarter net sales in its results statement due tomorrow (21 October), but there was a sense of renewed optimism among company executives at last night's dinner.

Indeed, there has been a general sense of this at the show this week. Perhaps it is more relief that, a year on from watching the financial world collapse like a house of cards, most people are still alive and kicking.

At the same time, there is genuine optimism that we are through the worst of what has been a very tough time. In Western Europe, France and Germany returned to quarterly gross domestic product growth over the summer, while in Asia, the dip looks as though it will be more short-lived than the doomsayers had predicted.

What makes the optimists cautious is that Governments remain saddled with debt after bailing out their banking systems and that unemployment has continued to rise in most mature markets.

The fear is that, although drinks firms present in Cannes this week are talking of a light at the end of the tunnel, it may yet prove to be a false dawn. And, even if it doesn't, no one is quite sure how long it will take for us to reach it.


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