Standing listening last night to The Macallan’s brand ambassador, Joy Elliot, who was conducting a tasting of the new 1824 Series at the Whisky Shop in London’s Piccadilly, I could not resist a feeling of déjà vu.
Profit between July 1 2010 and June 30 2011 stood at €1.9b, after the group saw profit growth of 6% and 8% organically.
Pierre Pringuet, chief executive officer of Pernod Ricard, said: “Our remarkable performance over the 2010/11 financial year demonstrated the relevance of our strategy and of our decentralised model."
Growth was particularly strong in the group’s Asia/Rest of the World markets, which together registered a 19% increase (organic growth of 15%).
The regions’ driving forces were China, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and duty free markets, while growth was also evident in Africa/Middle East and Turkey.
Despite the anticipated impact of the East Asia Tsunami, sales grew 3% during the financial year in Japan.
The Americas markets reported rises of 8% (organic growth of 5%), with a 2% increase in the US – buoyed by the renewed popularity of Absolut and the continued success of Jameson – while sales also grew in all other markets in the region, except in Venezuela.
Brazil’s double-digit rise of 12% was helped by the success of Absolut and the group’s scotch whiskies.
In Europe (excluding France), the group pointed to “stable sales compared to a decline of -5% in 2009/10” and referenced a robust recovery in Eastern and Central Europe (+9%).
The moderate decline in Western Europe (-2%) was related to the performance of Greece (-33%) and Spain (-5%).
In Pernod’s home market, France, sales grew 4%, an upturn linked to the success of the group’s ‘Top 14 brands’, especially Ricard, Ballantine’s, Mumm, Chivas, Havana Club, Perrier-Jouët, Jameson and Absolut.
Pringuet added: “For 2011/12 the beginning of the financial year confirms the resilience of our markets.
"We will continue to grow, by capitalising on the strength of our portfolio of brands, the quality of our distribution network and the powerful leverage of emerging markets.”
The group’s ‘Top 14’, which accounts for 58% of group sales, grew 6% in volume and, according to Pernod, seven of its brands - Absolut, Chivas, Jameson, Havana Club, Martell, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet - reached “all time record highs".
The ‘Top 14’ brands grew by 10% in value with five reported to have seen double-digit growth: Royal Salute (+27%), Martell (+22%), Jameson (+20%), Perrier Jouët (+17%) and The Glenlivet (+14%).
The only of member of the ‘Top 14’ to downtrade was Kahlua which "slipped back modestly (-1%)” because of the cost of the new ‘Delicioso’ advertising campaign.
‘Priority premium wine brands’ grew by 0.4% with "Campo Viejo and Graffigna offsetting the moderate decline of Jacob’s Creek and Brancott Estate".
The 18 ‘key local spirits brands’ continued to grow and increased overall by 3% in value, driven by local whisky brands in India, which reported a 30% rise.
The group conceded that overall performance was adversely affected by the decline of Seagram’s Gin in the US (-12%) and 100 Pipers in Thailand (-13%).
Advertising and promotion expenditure was at €1.4b, up 11% to 18.9% of sales, compared to 17.8% in 2009/10, while Pernod’s debt was also reduced by €1.5b to €9b.