French spirits major Pernod Ricard has reportedly once again suffered a setback in its attempts to restart sales in New Delhi, India.
The Martell brand owner saw a request have its liquor sale licence for the city renewed rejected by New Delhi authorities in April, a decision it had asked an Indian court to overturn.
However, according to Reuters, that court reportedly said on Tuesday (18 July) it would not get involved in the dispute, instead referring Pernod to appellate government authorities in New Delhi.
New Delhi officials introduced a new excise policy in 2021 to reshape how alcohol was sold and licensed in the region. That policy ran for just one year before it was scrapped, resulting in all operators in the market having to reapply for a liquor sales licence.
New Delhi has refused to grant Pernod a licence on the basis the city is investigating the group on several accounts of wrongdoing. The charges reportedly include giving false information to city authorities in 2021 and violating local regulations around financially supporting retailers in exchange for listings of its brands.
Pernod has denied any wrongdoing.
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Just Drinks has approached the group for comment on this latest reported setback.
India is worth around 10% of Pernod’s annual sales, with New Delhi historically accounting for 5%. However, sales of its products have not been possible in the city for around eight months due to the dispute.
In May, Pernod announced Jean Touboul was to take over the India arm of its business as managing director.
Touboul’s appointment followed the departure of Paul-Robert Bouhier as Pernod’s India MD, which the company said was down to personal reasons.
Touboul was previously managing director of Pernod’s business in south-east Asia, having first joined the group in 2004.