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PARIS Feb 13 French spirits group Pernod Ricard
cut its annual profit growth goal on Thursday as it
warned demand in China, its second-largest market, would remain
weak throughout its fiscal year ending in June.
The world's second-biggest spirits group behind Britain's
Diageo, which previously expected demand in China to
start recovering from the second half of its financial year,
said it remained confident over the medium and long-term
potential of China.
The owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell
cognac said it now eyed a rise of between 1 percent and 3
percent in full year underlying operating profit against an
October forecast of 4-5 percent growth.
A Reuters poll of six analysts had showed Pernod Ricard was
seen on course for a 2.3 percent growth in underlying operating
First-half underlying sales were flat at 4.570 billion
euros, reflecting an 18 percent sales fall in China, while
underlying operating profit rose 2 percent to 1.359 billion
euros, thanks mostly to cost control.
Pernod Ricard makes 12 percent of its sales in China, its
second-biggest market behind the United States, but like rivals
Diageo and Remy Cointreau it has been hit by a Chinese
government crackdown on luxury gift-giving and personal spending
by civil servants, as well as slowing economic growth in the
world's second-biggest economy.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Andrew Callus)