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Pernod Ricard to cease operations in Russia

A logo is seen on a bottle of the Ricard aniseed-flavoured beverage displayed during French drinks maker Pernod Ricard news conference to announce the company annual results in Paris

(This May 12 story has been corrected to remove references to 'premium' and 'local brands' in paragraphs 1 and 2)

PARIS (Reuters) - French spirits group Pernod Ricard said on Friday it stopped exports of all its international brands to Russia at the end of April and also plans to end the distribution of its portfolio of brands to Russia.

Ending the distribution of the portfolio, which includes brands such as Armenian brandy Ararat, is a process that Pernod Ricard expects to take "some months" to complete, the group said in a statement on its website.

A spokesperson for Pernod Ricard said the company, which owns international brands such as Martell cognac and Beefeater gin, would keep a "limited team" in Russia in order to eventually resume business in the future.

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Downsizing local operations would mean the loss of around 300 jobs in Russia, she said.

Last month, Pernod Ricard had said it was suspending exports entirely of its premium vodka Absolut to Russia, having previously reduced sales following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

It said at the time it was still supplying a limited supply of other brands in Russia.

Like many Western consumer goods companies, Pernod Ricard cut back heavily on products it sells in Russia last year, having previously derived around 3% of its sales there.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten)