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Pernod Ricard invests in Italian premium aperitivo Italicus

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Ricard's aniseed-flavoured beverage are pictured at the Ricard manufacturing unit in Lormont, near Bordeaux

PARIS (Reuters) - French spirits group Pernod Ricard <PERP.PA> said on Thursday it was investing in Italicus, a super-premium bergamot-infused Italian aperitivo, as it further expands its fast-growing portfolio of premium speciality spirits.

The world's second-largest spirits group behind Diageo <DGE.L> did not disclose the size of its investment in Italicus, a liquor with a 20% ABV (alcohol by volume), which sells for 30 euros per 70 cl bottle on average.

Italicus, which is based in Turin and comes in a blue-green bottle, was created by Italian spirits expert Giuseppe Gallo, who will be the active CEO in the brand's ongoing development.

It will benefit from Pernod Ricard's global distribution network for its future expansion, the statement said.

Since Chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard took over in 2015, Pernod Ricard has favoured expanding in the fast-growing premium craft spirits sector, investing in brands such as German gin maker Monkey 47, ultra premium Japanese gin maker KI NO BI Kyoto dry gin, Canadian craft gin Ungava, Del Maguey mezcal, Smooth Ambler West Virginian whiskey or Rabbit Hole bourbon.

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