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Africa – a land of opportunity for Pernod

Africa is set to become the next big growth region for Pernod Ricard, says Alexandre Ricard, who takes over as chairman and chief executive of the French premium spirits giant in a few days time.

“In 10 to 15 years Africa will be where Asia is today,” he told the drinks business in an exclusive interview. “In the late 80s and the 90s [we seeded] what is our huge Asian success and that is what we are replicating now on the model of our people selling our brands in Africa.”

To date Pernod Ricard has offices or subsidiaries in South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Namibia and Kenya. By 2017 it will have added DR Congo, Zambia, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mozambique.

“We are investing ahead of our growth in Africa,” says Ricard. “Africa today is still a small part of our business but growing in double digits – I reckon about 20% – and we expect Africa as a region to become a key growth engine.”

Brown spirits, especially scotch and cognac will drive that growth, he believes. “We see middle class Africans moving from local value spirits into international Western style categories, starting with scotch. It’s the same pattern as in Asia.”

The full interview with Alexandre Ricard and Pierre Pringuet, Pernod Ricard’s current chief executive, who is retiring, appeared in the February edition of the drinks business.

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