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Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest distiller by revenues, has reported sales grew 6 per cent in its latest fiscal year, largely driven by an acceleration in Asia.

The Paris-based maker of Jameson whiskey and Absolut vodka saidsaid on Wednesday sales grew to €8.99bn in the 12 months to the end of June, ahead of 3.6 per cent growth in the previous fiscal year.

The group recorded organic growth in profits of 6.3 per cent to €2.36bn, confirming its revised annual guidance. Both sales and profits were in line with analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

There was growth in all geographical regions and key brands, led by Asia, notably China and India. In the past, high-end spirits in China had suffered from a clampdown on luxury gifts such as cognac.

“The situation in China is quite different now, it’s about private consumption more than gifting,” said Helene de Tissot, chief financial officer. “It’s much healthier as it’s much more diversified across brands and there is an emerging middle class that is bringing new consumers every year.” 

In Asia Pernod Ricard experienced strong performance from its Martell cognac and also from premium spirits, including Absolut. 

Sales in the Americas grew 6 per cent, while Europe was up 2 per cent as good momentum in Eastern Europe, Germany and the UK was offset by difficulties in Spain and France. In its home market Pernod Ricard is overexposed to the declining anise-flavoured liqueur category with its eponymous products Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis, which dragged on performance. 

Overall Pernod Ricard was impacted by €180m in adverse foreign exchange moves during the year, reflecting a strengthening of the US dollar. Ms de Tissot that the group is “closely monitoring” the threat of a global trade war. 

Pernod Ricard expects organic growth profit from recurring operations of between 5 per cent and 7 per cent in its 2019 fiscal year.

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