THE owner of Scotch whisky distiller Chivas Brothers has declared profits for the year will be at the upper end of expectations, despite growth slowing in the third quarter.

Pernod Ricard is forecasting a rise in profits from recurring operations of eight per cent, having seen sales increase in the third quarter by 2.5% to €2 billion. It had signalled its expectation of growing profits by 6% and 8% in February.

Sales have grown by 6.3% to €7.2bn for the year to date, amid “dynamic growth” in China and India of 12 per cent for the first nine months of the year.

In China, Pernod said sales are up 21% for the year to date, following a strong Chinese New Year, and continuing growth on Chivas, after its relaunch. It also highlighted the sales momentum behind Martell Cognac.

India has seen sales rise 19% in the year to date amid growth across the whole portfolio, including Seagram’s Indian Whiskies, international spirits and Jacob’s Creek wine.

However, growth rates slowed in the Americas, Asia-Rest of World and Europe in the third quarter, the firm said.

The update comes after activist investor Elliott Advisors challenged Pernod over its performance in December. The activist, which has been stake building in Pernod, declared the Paris-listed company had lost market share across key segments and underperformed its peers on several metrics.

Pernod responded by saying its stood by its strategy, which it noted was yielding results on sales, profits and cost savings.

Chief executive Alexandre Ricard said: “Growth was very strong and diversified in the first nine months of FY19, responding to our long-term investment strategy.”