March 22 (Reuters) - Pernod Ricard Chairman and CEO for EMEA and LATAM Christian Porta tells analysts on a call: about the region:
* Medium and long-term ambition is for low single digit sales growth in Europe, expects more growth in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe
* Medium and long-term ambition is for high-single digit to low double digit sales growth in Africa, Middle East.
* Pernod Ricard also wants to accelerate sales growth in LATAM in the medium and long-term
* “Very positive” over future growth prospects of tequila in the United States and outside the U.S.
* Says Mescal will be a focus for the group in Mexico, the U.S. as well as in European markets and in Africa.
* Says rising Agave prices have substantially increased costs for tequila. Thinks Agave prices are now not far from the top of the curve. Group trying to increase its prices in its top markets.
* Sales grew 7 pct in first half of FY 2017/18 in the EMEA & LATAM region, with emerging markets the key growth drivers thanks to an acceleration of A&P investment focused on strategic brands like Absolut, Chivas and Jameson.
* A&P investment have increased by more than 40 percent since first half 2015 in emerging markets. Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Reporting By Dominique Vidalon)