Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
Sales for the year ending June 30 2012 totalled €8.6 billion (excluding tax and duties), due to growth of 7% and organic growth of 8%, the group’s highest since 2007/2008.
Pernod attributed its expansion to strong growth in emerging markets (17%) and a steady 12 months in mature markets (2%), which grew for the second consecutive year.
Profit from recurring operations stood at €2.1 billion, a rise of 9% year on year.
Split down by region, the Americas reported growth of 6%, with the US' 5% increase driven by Jameson.
Brazil’s sales grew 13%, driven by Pernod’s Top 14 brands (+26%). Absolut vodka and scotch whiskies were particularly strong performers.
Due to the reorganisation of the subsidiary, the group said, Mexico posted a decline of -12%.
Europe, excluding France, recorded sales growth of 2%. In Eastern Europe, sales increased 16% but western Europe declined by 1%, largely due to Spain (-4%), Italy (-13%), Greece (-13%) and the UK (-4%).
In the group’s home market of France, sales shrunk by 1% due to a decrease in spirits consumption following the excise duty hike of 1 January 2012 (+14% on average), which, said the group, “had a particularly adverse effect on the aniseed category”.
Pernod’s Top 14 brands’ volumes grew 3% collectively; growth brands included: Royal Salute (+20%), Jameson (+15%), The Glenlivet (+15%), Martell (+10%), Perrier-Jouët (+10%), Martell (+10%), Chivas (+7%), Malibu (+6%) and Mumm (+4%).
While those that recorded volume decreases were: Ricard (-3%), Havana Club (-2%), Kahlua (-1%) and Ballantine’s (-1%).
In value terms Martell grew 25%, Royal Salute (+23%), The Glenlivet (+19%), Jameson (+18%), Perrier Jouët (+14%) and Chivas (+11%).
Ricard declined -3% by value while Havana Club and Ballantine’s net sales were static.
Pierre Pringuet, chief executive officer of Pernod Ricard, said: "Throughout the 2011/12 financial year, the Group recognised its best growth rates since the 2008 crisis, be it for the top or bottom line. This is the result of a clear and constant strategy: substantial investments in our brands, innovation, premiumisation and geographic expansion.
“This performance also derives from a unique, decentralised organisation founded upon the motivation and the accountability of men and women, that Patrick Ricard bestowed upon us.
"Despite the economic uncertainty, we are confident in the Group's ability to deliver solid growth this year as well."