Pernod First-Quarter Sales Rise 6.9%, Beat Forecast

French wines and spirits group Pernod Ricard reported a 6.9 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Tuesday, beating the average market forecast, and maintained its full-year outlook.

The maker of Martell cognac and Chivas Regal whisky said sales rose to 1.557 billion euros ($2.24 billion), helped by higher revenues in emerging markets.

A Reuters poll of 10 analysts had given an average sales forecast of 1.518 billion euros.

"These very good results enable the confirmation, in current market conditions and on a like-for-like basis, of guidance of strong growth in sales and operating profit from ordinary activities for Pernod Ricard in 2007/08," Chairman Patrick Ricard said in a statement.

Drinks makers around the world have targeted fast-growing emerging markets such as China, Russia and India to boost turnover.

Pernod said it had underlying sales growth of 30 percent in China during the first quarter, and similarly high revenue growth in India, where whisky brands such as Royal Stag and Imperial Blue were selling well.

Diageo, the global leader in alcoholic drinks, showed a slowdown in first-quarter sales growth earlier this month, although the U.K. group kept its full-year target for underlying operating profit to rise by 9 percent.

Pernod shares closed at 156.99 euros on Monday. The stock has risen by around 8 percent since the start of 2007.