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Pernod Ricard improvement ‘driven by USA’

Improvement in the US helped drive “a gradual improvement” for Pernod Ricard in the first six months of the financial year, with the UK wine portfolio also performing strongly.

Sales across the group rose 3% on an organic basis, with growth accelerating across the Americas, up 4% in the first half of the year, the company reported today.  This was led by the USA, up 3% in the first half compared to only 1% in the same period last year. Whiskey – Jameson’s in particular – Tequila and Cognac continued to fuel this growth, while there were also some improvements in vodka.

Sales in Europe also improved, up 1% due to improvement in Spain and the UK. The company’s wine portfolio performed well on the back of Brancott Estate and promotions on Jacob’s Creek, the company said, while Mumm, Absolut, Jameson and Mumm were also singled out as strong performers. However, Russia and France continued to decline.

Growth was strong in India, Africa and Australia, pushing the Asia/Rest of the World region – which accounts for 41% of sales – to 5% growth. However it noted the environment continued to be “tough” in China, where the market is still declining, and Korea, where Scotch continued to slow down.

Growth in spirits and Champagne, which accounts to 64% of total sales, was driven by innovation, price and mix, it said, rising 2% overall. Jameson’s saw sales up 11%, with Martell also rising 7%, although Scotch rose only 1% overall. Wine, which accounts for 5% of total sales, also saw volumes rise, up 8%, on sales up 6%.

Organisational changes

The company is also changing its structure, redrawing its regional divisions and making a series of appointments, which it said would provide greater focus, efficiency and simplicity.

It is simplifying and splitting Americas region following the retirement of current CEO of Pernod Ricard Americas, Philippe Dreano. The region will be divided into Canada and the USA, headed up by the current chairman & CEO of The Absolut Company, Paul Duffy, with two new South America regions also being created, covering Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Chile & Peru, and Brazil with Argentina and Uruguay.

Noël Adrian has been appointed managing director of Pernod Ricard Mexico, with Thibault Cuny heading up Pernod Ricard Brazil.

A new head of Global Travel Retail is also being appointed to oversee the existing Asia, Europe and the America travel retail operations, which will be lead by Mohit Lal, currently Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Travel Retail Asia.

Other changes include Anna Malmhake moving to head up The Absolut Company, with Jean-Christophe Coutures replacing her as chairman & CEO of Irish Distillers. Bruno Rain will step into his role as CEO of Pernod Ricard Winemakers and Bryan Fry, currently managing director for Pernod Ricard USA, is moving to Pernod Ricard Pacific.

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