Comeback in Asian sales spurs growth for French spirits maker Pernod Ricard

Rising Asian sales and a strong U.S. dollar have helped return Pernod Ricard to growth, after a slack period the French spirits maker says it expects will come to a gradual end.

The maker of Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey posted sales of 1.9 billion euros ($2.03 billion) for the January through March period, with a total so far for the year of 6.5 billion euros ($6.96 billion), up 2 percent from the same nine-month period last year.

In a statement Thursday, Alexandre Ricard, the CEO and grandson of founder Paul Ricard, predicted annual growth of between 1 and 3 percent for the full year. Jameson saw double-digit growth in sales in the United States, while The Glenlivet and Ballantine's Finest expanded in emerging markets, the company said.