Strong sales in China, India drive Pernod Ricard profit growth

French spirits maker on Wednesday said sales and profit growth accelerated in full year 2017/18, driven by strong demand in China and India, as well as robust sales in the United States, its top market.

The maker of Martell cognac and Mumm champagne handed investors a 17 percent dividend hike. For the year ahead, Pernod — the world‘s second-biggest spirits group behind Britain‘s — forecast further profit growth in spite of an uncertain geopolitical and monetary climate. It gave no further details.

Pernod Ricard predicted a “very strong” first quarter, saying it would benefit from a low comparison base in India where it has faced setbacks including a ban on liquor outlets.

It also forecast a boost in the July-September period from an earlier Mid-Autumn Festival in China, where it banks on a thirst for premium drinks from a fast rising middle-class.

Speaking on both China and India, Alexandre Ricard, the chairman and chief executive officer Pernod Ricard, said that the key drivers there were the emerging middle class.

“We‘re in investment mode, as well, in both these counties as they drive our growth, currently, and also for the medium to long-term,” he told CNBC‘s “Squawk Box Europe.”

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