Pernod Ricard SA, the world’s second-biggest distiller, forecast earnings to rise this year after first- quarter sales beat analysts’ estimates, as growth in the Americas offset a difficult market in China.
Earnings from recurring operations will increase 1 percent to 3 percent in the year ending June 2016 on an adjusted basis, the Paris-based company said in a statement Thursday. That compares with analysts’ estimates for 2.8 percent growth and last year’s rate of 2 percent.
“The beginning of the financial year is consistent with our scenario of continued gradual improvement in sales,” Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Ricard said in the statement.
Pernod Ricard, the maker of Jameson whiskey, Beefeater gin and Chivas Regal scotch, is pushing luxury variants such as Absolut Elyx vodka to reignite growth in the U.S. Pernod’s cognac sales have suffered from a crackdown on lavish spending in China. It’s also eyeing opportunities for its Havana Club Cuban rum in the U.S. as tensions thaw between the two countries.
First-quarter sales increased 3 percent on an organic basis to 2.22 billion euros ($2.5 billion), beating the 1.1 percent median estimate of 18 analysts. Revenue on the same basis grew 1 percent in the Asia and Rest of World region. Growth in the Americas was 6 percent.
Pernod shares have risen 14 percent in the past year, trailing the 20 percent increase for the European food and beverage sector.
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