PARIS, June 26 French drinks group Pernod Ricard
said business trends in the Europe-Middle East-Africa
(EMEA) region are broadly unchanged in the fourth quarter ending
June 30 from those of the first nine months of the 2013/14
The zone, which excludes France and Ireland, accounts for
around 25 percent of sales at the world's second-biggest spirits
group behind Britain's Diageo.
"We are more or less in line, with no major change,"
Christian Porta, EMEA head, said during a conference call on
Underlying sales in EMEA grew 3.8 percent year-on-year in
the nine months to March 31, with sales in Western Europe easing
0.3 percent and sales in Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey
rising 12.1 percent, company slides showed.
This compared with flat underlying sales for the group as a
whole in the period.
Commenting on medium- and long-term prospects for western
Europe, Porta said he saw "good growth potential" in northern
Europe, led by a strong German market, thanks to growing demand
for imported spirits, a strong economy and low unemployment, and
by Britain, where the economy was also improving.
In southern Europe, which has been hit by austerity measures
and high unemployment, Italy and Greece were close to
stabilisation but Spain remained difficult, "with no real
improvement in household consumption", he said.
Pernod was also optimistic about the prospects for eastern
Europe, where low penetration of international spirits brands
created a "huge reservoir of growth".
Pernod achieved underlying sales growth of 17 percent in
Poland in the nine-month period. Sales in Russia were still
growing, though not as fast as some 12 to 18 months ago.
Slower economic growth and a ban on alcohol advertising in
Russia has hit mostly super-premium whisky and vodka brands,
with sales of Pernod's Chivas Regal down 1 percent in the nine
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)