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Drinks giants Pernod Ricard, Rémy Cointreau and Heineken give upbeat market updates as China and US sales rise

Naomi Ackerman
·2-min read
<p>Rémy Cointreau said on Friday that it expects a strong start to the financial year</p> (Press image)

Rémy Cointreau said on Friday that it expects a strong start to the financial year

(Press image)

Drinks makers gave upbeat updates to the markets this week as hospitality reopens in the UK and global demand - particularly in China and the US - resurges.

Rémy Cointreau said on Friday that it expects a strong start to the financial year, a day after Pernod Ricard - the French drinks group behind Absolut vodka - also offered an upbeat outlook and Heineken said it saw 12.1% growth for its eponymous beer brand in the first quarter.

The Paris-based Rémy Cointreau - maker of Rémy Martin cognac and Cointreau liqueur - said it saw "sharp sales acceleration in the second half", with 15.1% organic growth between January and March. Increasing demand for its premium cognac in China and the US lifted cognac sales just over 18% in the period.

The company said that despite the "uncertain public health, economic and geopolitical environment" it is "expecting a strong start to financial year 2021/22".

This week Heineken reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter, fuelled by growing sales in China and Africa.Heineken
This week Heineken reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter, fuelled by growing sales in China and Africa.Heineken

Bosses said: "With full-year sales slightly ahead of its expectations, Rémy Cointreau now anticipates its current operating profit to grow around 10%, in organic terms, in financial year 2020/21."

The news came just after Pernod Ricard said organic sales in the most recent quarter were up 19.1% to €1,955 million.

The firm said its China sales grew by 34% in the first nine months of FY21, with India returning to double-digit growth in the past three months.

Pernod - which also behind Jameson and The Glenlivet - said European sales continued to "display strong resilience, thanks in particular to Scotch" and other high-end brands, and group chairman and CEO, Alexandre Ricard, said the company expects sales growth will accelerate further this summer.

He said: “Our Q3 was excellent, marking a return to organic sales growth... We expect our sales to accelerate in Q4."

Earlier this week Heineken, which is also behind brands such as Amstel and Birra Moretti, reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter, fuelled by growing sales in China and Africa.

The Amsterdam-based firm is the world's second-largest brewer sold 5.4% more beer in Asia and 9.9% more beer in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East than it did in the same period a year earlier. This helped compensate for the quarter's 9.7% fall in overall Europe sales, which were hit by Covid restrictions across the UK, France and Germany.

The giant has said that, assuming vaccine rollouts go well, it expects to see sales growth speed up later in 2021.

It comes after Heineken said in February that it would axe 8,000 jobs — nearly one in 10 of its 85,000 strong workforce — as it plans to make €2 billion of cost savings by 2023.

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