said Thursday that it is confident of further sales growth and sustained profitability for the rest of the fiscal year, after higher pricing buoyed the group’s top line in the fiscal second quarter. The French distiller made sales of 7.12 billion euros ($7.61 billion) in the six months to Dec. 31, rising 12% on an organic basis. Analysts had expected half-year sales of EUR6.97 billion, according to a FactSet-compiled poll.
Recurring operating profit rose at the same rate as sales, totalling EUR2.42 billion. The group’s operating leverage was broadly flat, while the gross margin expanded several basis points to 61.4%. The margin and sales were driven higher especially by pricing, Pernod Ricard. “Particularly strong pricing dynamic illustrates the attractiveness of our portfolio of premium brands and enabled us to sustain margins in an inflationary context,” Chief Executive Alexandre Ricard said. The maker of Absolut vodka and Jameson whiskey will further increase pricing in the second half of the fiscal year, it said. The company expects further top-line growth, albeit in a normalizing environment, and to sustain its operating margin despite a planned step-up in investment in capital expenditure and in strategic inventories. Write to Joshua Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org; @joshualeokirby