UK: Pernod plays down threat of closures

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Pernod Ricard has played down speculation that it plans to close bottling sites in Scotland as it integrates the Allied Domecq business.

Reports claimed that Pernod had begun a review of Allied's former operations in Scotland that would lead to widespread job cuts across the business. Pernod was said to be looking to centralise its bottling operations at one site, a fact refuted by the company.

"There are no plans to close any bottling sites in Scotland," a spokesperson for Pernod's Scotch whisky arm, Chivas Brothers, told just-drinks.

"When we acquired the (Allied) business on 26 July, we began looking at it but (these reports) are total speculation."

Pernod owns bottling plants at Paisley and Newbridge and has taken on Allied's former Dumbarton site. The spokesperson declined to comment on when Pernod would complete its review of Allied's operations and when any announcement would be made.

Pernod, which already owned Scotch whiskies Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet, snapped up the Allied whisky stable including Ballantine's, Scapa and Glendronach, as part of the GBP7.6bn (US$13.1bn) takeover.

The French drinks giant had predicted it would achieve cost-savings worth GBP300m from integrating Allied's operations into the business. Chairman and CEO Patrick Ricard earlier this month told shareholders that figure would be "comfortably achieved".

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