FRANCE: Acquisition “the only way” to grow Champagne – Pernod CEO

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The head of Pernod Ricard has suggested that the French group may look to acquire extra vines or wines in the Champagne region going forward.

Speaking exclusively to just-drinks earlier this week, Patrick Ricard, the company's chairman and CEO, warned that acquisition was the "only way" to expand its Perrier-Jouet and Mumm Champagne businesses.

"In Champagne, we know that what you have, you have to sell for the maximum price you can," Ricard, who will step down from the CEO position in November, said. "It's limited, but everyone is in the same position."

With Perrier-Jouet and Mumm, Ricard said it is "impossible for us to become number one".

"When we have more money in our pockets, we could buy some other companies to get some more vineyards or some more wine," he added. "It's the only way to expand."

The company's priority for the time being, however, was to reduce its debt, following the acquisition of Vin & Sprit this year for US$8.88bn.

"For the time being, we are looking to acquire nothing," Ricard said. "After the debt is down, we will see what is happening at that time but, by then, it won't be my choice."

Sectors: Spirits, Wine

Companies: Ricard, Pernod Ricard, Perrier

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