Blog: Chris MercerPernod Ricard drinks from Asia's well

Chris Mercer | 21 October 2010

Pernod Ricard's first quarter net sales have rebounded to levels higher than those of the care-free, pre-crisis days, but the figures are another sign that the firm's regional power base is shifting.

Pernod's CEO, Pierre Pringuet, might allow himself to relax with a little Ricard this evening - and not only to boost the brand's volume sales.

Pernod's EUR1.88bn (US$1.67bn) in net sales for the three months to the end of September are 14% ahead of the same period last year and, more importantly, are up on the EUR1.76bn in the pre-crisis, first quarter of 2008-09.

True, there was a boost from exchange rates, but the pace of like-for-like sales growth in the quarter was double that of the firm's great rival, Diageo.

Analysts were upbeat on the news. Pernod beat their sales estimates by 4% and has offered profits guidance that is both stronger and earlier than usual.

However, it cannot be said that the situation in much of Western and Southern Europe, as well as the US, has returned to normal following the global economic downturn.

Rather, Pernod's first quarter is yet more evidence of the group's shifting weight in the direction of Asia. Just look at the figures: Asia saw sales rise by 25%, compared to flat sales in the US and a 2% rise in Europe that was predominantly led by Russia.

Pernod's rapid recovery owes a lot to China's thirst for Martell, as well as Asia's demand for Scotch whisky.



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