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United Spirits: In a first, USL pips Pernod Ricard in premium segment

(USL) has outpaced Pernod Ricard in the premium segment of India’s alcohol beverages market for the first time ever in the last fiscal.Diageo-owned USL grew 13.7% by value in prestige-and-above (P&A) business, which now exceeds two-thirds of its overall sales, up from less than half five years ago.

Pernod Ricard, which only sells premium and semi-premium brands, grew 9% during the same period. The maker of Blenders Pride, Royal Stag and Imperial Blue whiskies continues to lead the premium segment in India.

“Our winning play in P&A last year has been driven by the resurgence of ’s No. 1 Whisky on the back of its successful renovation and strong performance in bottled in origin (BIO) Scotch where we have further enhanced our market leadership position,” said Abanti Sankaranarayanan, chief strategy and corporate affairs officer at Diageo India.

Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest distiller after Diageo, said it expects some recovery in India in fiscal year 2022 even as it believes there might still be some volatility linked to the pandemic situation.

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“For this year, we expect a gradual recovery,” Pernod Ricard chairman Alexandre Ricard said on Wednesday after announcing the company’s quarterly earnings. “India was up 9%, and was very resilient given the environment, while the underlying consumer-driven trends are clearly there,” he said.

The French alcohol beverages (alcobev) firm controls about a fourth of the overall whiskey market in India.

Analysts said it remains to be seen if USL can continue to outpace Pernod, considering that the industry had experienced severe market disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

“It is still heartening to see USL grow faster than Pernod, which has not been very common in the past few years,” Edelweiss Securities said in a report. “However, USL under new managing director needs to sustain this for further re-rating of the stock.”

The above news was originally posted on economictimes.indiatimes.com

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