Pernod Ricard Net Profit Rises on Strong U.S. Sales and Improvements in China

By Nick Kostov Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pernod Ricard posted a rise in full-year net profit on Thursday helped by higher U.S. demand for whiskey, a return to sales growth in China and tight cost control.

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The owner of Absolut vodka, Martell cognac and Mumm champagne set a target for a rise of 3% to 5% in profit from recurring operations for its 2018 fiscal year.

Net profit for the year to June 30 rose 13% to 1.39 billion euros ($1.65 billion) on group sales of EUR9.01 billion, up 4%.

Profit from recurring operations rose 5% to EUR2.39 billion.

Fourth quarter sales rose 5%, reflecting an increase of 6% in America, 5% in Asia and 2% in Europe.

-- Write to Nick Kostov at nick.kostov @wsj.com

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PARIS--French liquor group Pernod Ricard SA said Thursday that its profit for the fiscal 2017 year rose 13% as strong sales in the U.S. and an improvement in China as well as tight cost control boosted the bottom line.

The owner of Absolut vodka and Jameson whisky said net profit for the year ending June 30 rose to 1.39 billion euros ($1.65 billion).

The company's profit from recurring operations, the measuring stick that analysts and the company often use, rose 5% during the year to EUR2.39 billion from EUR2.28 billion in the same period in fiscal 2016.

Meanwhile, fourth-quarter revenue for the world's No. 2 drinks conglomerate after Diageo PLC rose 5%, driven by the U.S., a return to growth in China, Eastern Europe and global travel retail. Organic revenue growth, which strips out currency effects and acquisitions, was at 3% for the quarter, the company said.

Sales in its Americas, dominated by the U.S. market, rose 6% in the quarter, while its Asia/Rest of World regions increased 5%. Pernod's home region of Europe rose 2%.

However, India remained weak. Sales in the country, which was formerly a major driver of growth, rose just 1% over the year. Sales growth in India has slowed after an Indian government ban on high-value bank notes held back local whisky consumption. The Indian government also banned liquor sales near major highways to curb drink driving.

The company--which also gave investors a 7% dividend rise--set a target for a rise of 3%-5% in profit from recurring operations for its 2018 fiscal year.

Write to Nick Kostov at nick.kostov@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 31, 2017 03:07 ET (07:07 GMT)