PARIS, April 25 (Reuters) - French spirits maker Pernod Ricard posted weaker-than- expected third-quarter sales on Thursday as growth slowed in its key Chinese market, and it stuck with a target for slower full-year profit growth.
The world’s second-biggest spirits group behind Britain’s Diageo said the U.S. market remained robust but austerity-hit southern Europe was difficult.
Revenue reached 1.74 billion euros ($2.27 billion) in the three months to March 31, a like-for-like rise of 6 percent, above the 4 percent achieved by Diageo.
This was below the average of analysts’ estimates of 7.3 percent growth for the quarter, however.
Pernod, the owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, kept its forecast of underlying operating profit growth of close to 6 percent in the full year to June 30, slowing from 9 percent growth in the previous year. ($1 = 0.7695 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)