French drinks giant Pernod-Ricard posted a better-than-expected 7.2% rise in sales for the last nine months, boosted by strong demand for Martell cognac due to the Chinese New Year celebrations.
The world's second-largest wines and spirits group also confirmed first-year guidance of about 20% growth in net profit from ordinary activities, excluding foreign exchange impact.
Sales for the nine months ending March 31 were $6.67 billion, above the average forecast in a Reuters poll for $6.53 billion.
Adjusted results for negative currency effects the negative impact of changes in the group's structure, Pernod said underlying third-quarter growth was 12.2% -- compared with an 8.3% average forecast from analysts polled by Reuters.
"These very good results are in line with our expectations and indicate favorable prospects for the second half of the year," Chairman Patrick Ricard said in a statement.