PARIS, Aug 31 (Reuters) - French spirits maker Pernod Ricard said on Thursday it was confident that profits for the current financial year would show an acceleration from the 2016/17 underlying profit growth of 3.3 percent it reported on Thursday.
Cost cuts, robust sales in its top market of the United States, and stronger demand in China offset weakness in India as Pernod posted the rise in earnings.
Pernod - the world's second-biggest spirits group behind Britain's Diageo - also handed investors a 7 percent dividend hike, and the owner of Mumm champagne and Martell cognac was confident it would improve its performance.
Pernod Ricard forecast underlying profit growth from recurring operations of between 3 percent and 5 percent for the full year up to June 30, 2018.
This would be an acceleration from the 3.3 percent rise in profit from recurring operations in the 2016/2017 full financial year, when profits came in at 2.394 billion euros ($2.84 billion) - slightly below the average of 2.42 billion euros in an Inquiry Financial poll for ThomsonReuters.
The 2016/17 performance was near the high end of Pernod's guidance for underlying operating profit growth of 2-4 percent.
($1 = 0.8420 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)