Chris Brook-Carter

The American way

By: Chris Brook-Carter - 4 November 2003 10:24

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Pernod Ricard, the French drinks giant, is the latest company to report that it has been adversely affected by foreign exchange rates, when it revealed its nine-month sales figures yesterday afternoon.

Following a similar story for rival Allied Domecq a couple of weeks ago, Pernod was hit for €207m in what was an otherwise encouraging set of results, with underlying sales growth up 8.5% in the period.

Interestingly, just-drinks is attending a seminar this evening held by the Wine & Spirit Association on treasury and foreign exchange risk management. In view of the strengthening euro and the effect it has had on the drinks trade in the last 12 months, it should prove to be an interesting discussion.

Away from forex issues, the US continues to show encouraging signs of a recovery. Pernod said its US wine and spirits sales enjoyed accelerated organic growth during the 3rd quarter driven by an economic recovery in the country, and achieved a nine-month cumulative growth rate of 10.8%. Combined with Allied’s news two weeks ago that the strength of its US division helped negate a weaker Eurozone, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.

This assumption is also borne out outside the drinks industry. From July to September, said the Commerce Department, the US economy recorded its fastest growth rate since 1984, with a 7.2% rise in GDP. That said there are still concerns. In particular, the bears point to the still high levels of unemployment and continuing anxiety among investors. The next six months will attract a lot of attention as the US audience tries to gauge whether this recovery is sustainable.
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