By Euan Conley
Pernod Ricard SA (RI.FR) on Thursday posted a 25% rise in net profit for the first half of its fiscal year, helped partly by a reduction in financial expenses and the one-off sale of bulk Scotch inventory.
Net profit for the half-year ending Dec. 31 rose to 1.15 billion euros ($1.4 billion) from EUR914 million a year earlier, the maker of Absolut vodka, Mumm champagne and Jameson whiskey said.
Sales in the first half increased by only 0.4% to EUR5.1 billion due to negative foreign currency effects, Pernod Ricard said. Second-quarter sales declined by 0.8% to EUR2.8 billion, which the company said was consistent with underlying trends from the first quarter.
"We expect sustained and diversified growth to continue across our regions and brands," said Pernod Chairman and Chief Executive Alexandre Ricard.
The French spirits group said it was raising its fiscal 2018 guidance for organic growth in profit from recurring operations to between 4% and 6%.
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