By Geoff Percival
French drinks giant Pernod Ricard has raised its profit forecast for its current financial year, chiefly on the back of the latest strong showing for its Jameson Irish Whiskey brand.
Group earnings rose by 6.3% in the 12 months to the end of June and the Paris-based distiller — which is second only in size to Diageo — said it expects organic profit for its recently started current financial year to grow by 5%-7%, slightly up on previous guidance.
That is largely based on growth in markets such as the US, China and India, but also on the continued growth of Jameson which has just extended a nine-year streak of sales growth.
In the latest financial year sales of Jameson grew by 14%, in value terms, and 12% in volume terms — with 7.3m cases shifted in the 12 months. The brand is now seeing either double or triple digit percentage sales growth in more than 80 markets around the world.
Pernod Ricard’s Irish subsidiary, Irish Distillers said its ‘prestige’ range — which includes the Redbreast and Midleton Very Rare whiskey labels — experienced a 12.8% volume increase in the year to the end of June.
Sales of Powers Irish Whiskey grew by 8%, in value terms, last year.
“Our largest markets continue to be the US, South Africa and Russia, followed by Ireland and the UK. It is very positive to see Jameson starting to generate interest in markets such as Nigeria, India and China,” Irish Distillers chief executive Conor McQuaid said.
“Sales of Irish whiskey now account for more than one third of all Irish beverage exports,” Mr McQuaid said.