PARIS, Oct 25 (Reuters) - French spirits group Pernod Ricard lagged forecasts with a 5 percent rise in underlying first-quarter sales, as demand for its Scotch whiskies slowed in Asia and sales declined in austerity-hit Southern Europe.
The world’s second-biggest spirits group behind Britain’s Diageo made a cautious profit forecast for the current year, predicting a rise in underlying profit from recurring operations of close to 6 percent in the year ending June 30, 2013.
Pernod achieved profit growth of 9 percent in 2011-12.
Pernod said second-quarter underlying sales growth would suffer from unfavourable comparisons with the year-ago quarter, which had been boosted by French pre-buying ahead of an excise duty hike and an early Chinese New Year.
The average estimate in a Reuters poll of ten analysts was for first-quarter underlying sales growth of 6.2 percent. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Mark John)