Spirits group Pernod Ricard has said it expects strong sales growth in its 2022 fiscal year, after buoyant demand in the United States, China and Europe helped it beat first-half profit and sales forecasts.
Pernod, which owns Martell cognac, Mumm champagne and Absolut vodka, said sales growth would drive operating margin expansion, although this would moderate from the first half due to increased investments.
Resilient consumption by people staying at home, the reopening of bars and restaurants and a gradual recovery in travel retail would fuel sales growth across regions, it said.
Pernod, the world's second-biggest spirits group, said profit from current operations in the six months to December 31 reached €1.998 billion, an organic rise of 22% that was more than analysts' expectations for a 16.7% rise.
Sales totalled €5.959 billion in the first half, representing an organic rise of 17%, compared with analysts' expectations for a 15.1% rise.
As expected, sales growth slowed to 14% in the second quarter from 20% in the first quarter, when Pernod Ricard had benefited from a low comparison base a year ago.
"Despite the ongoing volatile environment, we expect for FY22 strong sales growth across regions, with continued On-Trade rebound, Off-trade resilience and a gradual Travel Retail recovery," chief executive Alexandre Ricard said. "We will increase investments to fuel growth momentum."
Pernod Ricard had flagged that the comparison base would progressively become less favourable as the year progressed.
Pernod's fiscal year started on July 1.
"A successful mix of robust fundamentals, the dedication of our teams and our portfolio of brands, has yielded a very strong set of results and seen us through this crisis, emerging even stronger," Ricard added.
Record Sales For Jameson Whiskey
Elsewhere, Irish Distillers, the Irish arm of Pernod Ricard, said that it sold 5.8 million cases of Jameson whiskey in the first half of the year, a new half-year volume record for the spirit.
In the six months to the end of December 2021, Jameson recorded volume growth in key markets including the US (+8%), the UK (+16%) and South Africa (+41%).
Last month, rival Diageo reported first-half sales up nearly 16%, buoyed by high-end spirits for home use while bars increased orders as they reopened after lockdowns.