February 13, 2020 / 8:16 AM / in 8 days

Pernod Ricard CEO: we're confident on China despite virus

FILE PHOTO: Alexandre Ricard, Pernod Ricard Chairman and CEO, speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French spirits maker Pernod Ricard remains confident over its medium term-prospects in China despite the coronavirus epidemic which will hit its full year sales, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday.

Alexandre Ricard also said in a phone interview that his assumption was that consumer demand for spirits in China would return to normal from June.

“Our mid-term ambition remains intact. Fundamentals in China are extremely solid,” Ricard said.

Pernod Ricard has a medium-term ambition to grow sales at a high single digit to low double digit rate in China.

China is the group’s second largest market after the United States, accounting for around 10% of sales, and the company has been banking on China’s growing middle class and young population to further boost sales.

Pernod Ricard said earlier on Thursday it was cutting its full-year profit growth outlook for 2019-2020 as the coronavirus epidemic in China was likely to have a severe impact on its third quarter performance.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Christian Lowe

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