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PARIS, June 23 (Reuters) - Pernod Ricard raised its annual profit forecast as the French drinks saw a stronger than expected recovery with the removal of COVID-19 curbs, driving its shares to a record high in early trading on Wednesday.
The owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac now expects organic profit growth of about 16% for its 2020/2021 fiscal year, up from a previous April forecast of 10%.
Pernod shares were up 2.97% at 185.30 euros at 0810 --, having hit 187.60 euros earlier -- and were one of the strongest performers on the Stoxx 600. Since the start of the year, the stock is up 18.2% versus around 13% for the Stoxx 600 Food & Beverage index.
The world’s second-biggest spirits group after Britain’s Diageo had already told an investor presentation on Tuesday that it was confident about its prospects in Asia, helped by cognac and Scotch whisky demand in China.
And the group’s third-quarter results, published two months ago, had beaten analysts’ expectations.
“The pace of recovery is proving stronger than anticipated (...) Demand is accelerating as restrictions are progressively lifted,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.
Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, David Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise