Pernod May Seek Local Partners in Africa as It Takes on Diageo

on 24/06/11 at 10:34 am

Industry

Pernod-Ricard SA (RI), the maker of Absolut vodka, may look to partner with brewers or distillers in sub-Saharan Africa as it aims to catch up with bigger rival Diageo Plc (DGE) across the region, according to a company executive.

Paris-based Pernod is “here a bit late against our main competitor” in Africa, Laurent Lacassagne, the chairman and chief executive officer of the company’s European unit, said today on a conference call. “We believe it’s time to invest.”

Diageo “developed a spirit network a couple of years ago on the back of a very successful beer business,” Lacassagne said of his rival’s African business. Unlike Pernod, London- based Diageo sells lager brands and Guinness stout in the continent, where beer is drunk more frequently than spirits.

“It’s too early to say what we will do” to grow in Africa, Lacassagne said on the call. “Maybe local partnerships, broader ones — I can’t say more.”

Pernod and Diageo are looking to emerging markets to drive sales growth as tough economic conditions weigh on sales in developed markets including Europe.

{Full story via Bloomberg}

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