© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen on a bottle of the Ricard aniseed-flavoured beverage displayed during French drinks maker Pernod Ricard news conference to announce the company annual results in Paris, France, August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) -French spirits maker Pernod Ricard (PA:) said on Wednesday it was confident its sales momentum would continue this year after a rebound in demand in China and the United States helped it to deliver stronger-than expected annual profits.

The owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, did not provide a specific operating profit guidance for full year 2021/22 that started on July 1, but said its first quarter would be “very dynamic”.

With recurring cash flow at a historical high of 1.745 billion euros at end-June, the group also said it would resume its buyback programme of 500 million euros for FY 2021/222.

“We are giving a qualitative guidance for the full year, good sales momentum supported by on-trade recovery, resilient off-trade, dynamism in e-commerce but the travel retail business will improve only gradually amid ongoing health restrictions,” Finance Chief Helene de Tissot told Reuters

Pernod Ricard remained “very cautious” concerning travel retail prospects over the next 10 months, she added.

($1 = 0.8477 euros)

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