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Pernod Ricard warns of lower growth after falling Chinese cognac sales hurt 1st half profits

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PARIS - French drinks maker Pernod Ricard warned that profitability will shrink this year as it reported a drop in first half earnings and sales.

The maker of Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal whisky forecast that core earnings growth would slow to between 1 and 3 per cent this year, down from 6 per cent a year earlier and 2 per cent in the six months to Dec. 31.

Pernod Ricard reported net profit for the July-December period, its fiscal first half, of 839 million euros ($1.1 billion), down 2 per cent from 857 million euros a year earlier. Sales slid 7 per cent to 4.57 billion euros.

The company blamed the decline on a steep drop in sales in China, where first half revenue fell 18 per cent, largely due to lower sales of Martell cognac.

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