Pernod Ricard not currently seeking large acquisitions as company primarily focuses on paying down €9M debt, finance director says

LOS ANGELES , September 7, 2011 () – Pernod Ricard SA is currently not looking to make any sizeable acquisitions, Dow Jones Newswires reported Sept. 6.

The company is primarily focused on paying down its debt, which currently stands at €9 million (US$12.7 million), according to the company’s finance director Gilles Bogaert.

Pernod Ricard is aiming at a target net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization ratio of nearly 4 times by the end of June 2012, down from 4.4 times at then end of the last fiscal year, Bogaert said.

The company is currently focusing on deleveraging, so big acquisitions in the short term are not being considered, though tactical moves could be possible, said Bogaert.

Pernod Ricard has been linked with making a consolidation move for U.S.-based Fortune Brand Inc.’s spirit assets, which includes Jim Beam bourbon. Fortune Brands is seeking to spin off its home and security business next month, Dow Jones reported.

Pernod Ricard reaffirmed its confidence about its growth prospects after posting a 10% rise in net profit for the year ended June 30, 2011, fueled by an emphasis on flagship brands.

Spirit giants in Europe are seeing the benefits from a global demand for premium products, growing consumer confidence among the more affluent in developed economies, good exposure to growth in emerging markets, and a decline in weather pattern dependency, helping them to increase earnings and sales.

The primary source of this article is Dow Jones Newswires, New York, New York, on Sept. 6, 2011.

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