Chivas owner Pernod Ricard cheers strong whisky sales as drinkers trade up

Chivas Brothers owner Pernod Ricard, has seen strong whisky sales help underpin forecast-beating annual results as drinkers traded up to more expensive tipples.

The French group, whose brands include Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, also gave a confident outlook for the current year despite a “challenging and volatile environment”.

Chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard said the group was looking to achieve further price increases this year.

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“There has definitely been a newfound appreciation for conviviality since the Covid outbreak,” he added.

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The results showed that full-year sales topped €10.7 billion (£9.2bn), an organic rise of 17 per cent, with sales up 8 per cent in the key US market, 26 per cent in India and 5 per cent in China.

Europe saw overall growth of 19 per cent, led by Spain, Germany, Poland and the UK, and with a “very strong rebound” in the travel retail sector - an area impacted heavily by the pandemic.

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There was growth of 18 per cent for the group’s “strategic international brands”, led by Jameson, Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Absolut and Martell.

The results showed a significant increase in global whisky demand with net sales up 25 per cent. Mature markets recorded a 16 per cent hike while emerging markets jumped by 34 per cent.

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French spirits giant Pernod Ricard has brands including Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac. Picture: John Devlin

Pernod - the world’s second-biggest spirits group after Johnnie Walker-owner Diageo - said that over the 12 months to the end of June, profit from recurring operations reached just over €3.02bn, an organic rise of 19 per cent, which was ahead of analysts’ forecast for an increase of 18.1 per cent.

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CEO Ricard said: “Three words summarise Pernod Ricard’s excellent performance in [the past financial year]: record, balanced and sustainable. Our sales broke the symbolic milestone of €10bn with our fastest growth rate in over 30 years.

“[The] performance was also very well balanced. Growth was driven by all regions, categories, price points and channels, with a comparable contribution from both mature and emerging markets.

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“Most importantly, our performance was sustainable thanks to the real progress we’ve made on delivering our strategic roadmap.

“While we are faced with a challenging and volatile environment, I am confident that our unique

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competitive advantages and the rapid deployment of our digital transformation will enable us to deliver our FY23 [full-year] to FY25 medium-term financial framework.”

Chivas Brothers chief executive Jean-Etienne Gourgues said the firm had put in a “solid performance”, helped by having a diversified product and customer base.

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He added: “These positive results demonstrate that our strategy for growth, with investment across innovation and sustainability, is on track. We are well set up to continue this trajectory in FY23 to shape the future of Scotch by opening up the category to new audiences across the globe.”

Chivas Brothers reiterated its commitment to achieve 100 per cent recyclable, reusable, compostable packaging by 2025.

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While 690 tonnes of secondary packaging was removed last year, Chivas has now unveiled plans to work closely with suppliers to remove a further 2,000 tonnes of cardboard in the next financial year, equivalent of 780 tonnes of CO2 emissions, beginning with the phasing out of Chivas 12 cartons from this autumn.

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Whisky giant toasts market-beating sales but outlook clouded by Covid and confli...

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