Pernod Ricard annual profit beats expectations with China, U.S.
PARIS, Sept 1 (Reuters) - French spirits maker Pernod Ricard PDRDF posted a stronger-than-expected 18.3% organic rise in full-year 2020/21 operating profit, driven by a strong rebound in demand in China and the United States with the removal of COVID-19 curbs and by tight cost control.
This was higher than the company's guidance for a profit rise of as much as 17%.
For the year ahead, the owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, said it expected its strong sales momentum to continue with a "very dynamic" first quarter.
With recurring cash flow at a historical high of 1.745 billion euros at end-June, the group also said it would resume its buyback program of 500 million euros in fiscal year 2021/222 that started on July 1
Over the twelve months to June 30, profit from recurring operations reached 2.423 billion euros ($2.86 billion), an organic rise of 18.3%.
Sales reached 8.824 billion euros, an organic rise of 9.7%, with sales in the fourth quarter alone jumping 56.5% , on a low basis of comparison.
In June, the world's second-biggest spirits group after Britain's Diageo DEO, had raised its organic profit growth guidance for 2020/21 to 16% from 10%.
And last month, Pernod said a U.S. court ruling that it could make a refund claim on spirits exported from the United States would add a further 1% to its organic profit growth.nL1N2PW0E5
($1 = 0.8477 euros)
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten)