Pernod Ricard has posted a strong rise in profit for its last fiscal year.

The France-based drinks giant confirmed today (20 September) that operating profit from ordinary activities for the 12-month period to the end of June leapt by 21% year-on-year, coming in at EUR1.45bn (US$2bn). Net profit for the period rose even more impressively, by 30% on the corresponding period a year earlier, to EUR831m.

In July, Pernod said that net sales for the year rose by 6.2% on 2005-2006 to EUR6.4bn.

The company credited its Asia/Rest of the World and America operations as the leading profit growth drivers, posting increases of 39% and 21% in operating profit from ordinary activities respectively.

Europe and France also performed well, Pernod noted, delivering operating profit rises of 12% and 10%. Stronger sales were seen in the year in France, Germany and Italy, with marked growth coming from Pernod's Central and Eastern European markets.

While the drinks portfolio generated higher contribution margin for the year, Pernod also boasted that it achieved 100% of structure synergies in the period.

"2006/2007 was an excellent year for Pernod Ricard, with in particular the confirmed success of the Allied Domecq takeover and the strong growth in results and profitability," said company chief Patrick Ricard.

"The dynamism of our brands, the strength of our distribution network and the good start of the new financial year in July and August, in particular for the premium brands ... allow us to begin the 2007/08 financial year with confidence, while keeping a watchful eye on business environment developments."

The company concluded that it expects a further year of strong growth in sales and operating profit for its current financial year.

Pernod said it will recommend a cash dividend of EUR2.52 per share, which matches last year's enhanced dividend, when it granted one free share for every five held in January. The dividend will be voted on at the AGM in November.