PARIS, Oct 24(Reuters) - French spirits group Pernod Ricard announced first quarter underlying sales below market expectations on Thursday, with revenues hit by persistent weakness in China.
The world's second-biggest spirits group behind Britain's Diageo was cautious for the current year, predicting growth in underlying profit from recurring operations of between 4 and 5 percent for the year ending June 30, 2014.
That would be a slowdown from the profit growth of 6 percent achieved in FY 2012-13.
Pernod relies on Asia for about 46 percent of its recurring profits. Like its rivals, including smaller peer Remy Cointreau , it has been hurt by a government clampdown on luxury gifts in China, in addition to the slowdown in economic growth in the country.
Pernod achieved sales of 2.013 billion euros in the quarter, a like-for-like decline of 1.0 percent and a sharp slowdown from 5 percent growth in the fourth quarter 2012/13.
Six analysts polled by Reuters had eyed a like-for-like rise of 1.7 percent on average in the quarter. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Mark John)