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FRANCE: Pernod Ricard reaffirms plan to cut debt

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Pernod Ricard has reaffirmed its plan to concentrate on cutting debt until 2012, all but ruling out acquisitions.

Speaking at Pernod's AGM in Paris today (5 November), chairman Patrick Ricard said that the drinks giant's main objective was to "drive down debt".

Ricard said that Pernod had a "strong capability" to pay back loans via its strong cash flow and planned disposals of certain assets.

Asked if the company could be tempted into another acquisition over the next three to four years, Ricard said that it was unlikely. "We could not finance a deal ourselves," he said.

Regarding the acquisition of Vin & Sprit earlier this year, Ricard said that Pernod had "grasped a magic window of opportunity". Alluding to the current financial market problems, he said that "now, we could not buy it, so we were lucky".

The group told shareholders that it had no concerns about meeting loan repayments, following the V&S deal. It said two thirds of the loans it had taken out would not mature for five years. "We are very happy with our credit lines," said Ricard.

 


Sectors: Spirits, Wine

Companies: Ricard, Pernod Ricard

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