FRANCE: Pernod Ricard Group: 1st Half Results 2000

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Pernod Ricard announces its results for the six months to 30th June 2000. Operating profits grew 12.6% to Euros 165.2 million. Profit before tax at Euros 47.0 million were 7.7% ahead and, due to higher tax charge and exceptional costs, net profits were stable at Euros 80.8 million. Sales in the period grew by 25.5% to Euros 2037.9 million. In its core business of spirits and wine, sales grew by 11.6% of which 6.1% was achieved through organic growth. Operating profits in this sector grew by 17.0% to Euros 108.7 million representing 66% of the total for the Group. The Group's ten key brands of spirits and wines representing 70% of the operating profit of this sector grew by 4% notwithstanding the continued effect of the loss of intra European duty free sales in the period. The Group's distribution business, BWG Ltd, continued to perform strongly. Sales were up 43%, and operating profits grew by 34.7% to Euros 19.3 million. Internal growth accounted for 3%. The fruit processing sector, which includes soft drinks and fruit juices as well as food ingredients, reported mixed results. Sales grew strongly (+29.8%) mainly due to the consolidation of Agros in Poland. Operating profits fell by 5.5% to Euros 37.3 million. In France, volumes of the Orangina and Pampryl brands grew 6%. The merger of these two companies will create the second strongest soft drinks business in France and will generate significant synergies. In Poland, Agros has restructured its fruit and processed vegetable operations under the "Fortuna" business, thus consolidating its position in the national market. SIAS, world leader in its sector, has invested substantially in technology and agronomy enhancement and is undertaking a reorganization of its operational structure.

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