PARIS (Reuters) – Spirits group Pernod Ricard posted a stronger-than-expected 10.4 percent rise in first-quarter underlying sales, helped by higher demand in China and India and despite slower growth in its main market in the United States.

Pernod, the world’s second-biggest spirits group behind Britain’s Diageo, however cautioned sales growth would moderate in the full year, notably in Asia.

It also warned of a slighly negative foreign exchange impact on its recurring operating profit.

For the first quarter ended Sept. 30, Pernod reported sales of 2.387 billion euros ($2.74 billion), a like-for-like rise of 10.4 percent that beat analysts’ estimates for 7.4 percent like-for-like growth in an Inquiry Financial poll for Reuters.

Pernod said it benefited from strong demand in China and from a low year-ago comparison in India, where it has faced setbacks including a ban on liquor outlets.

The owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac said that despite an uncertain geopolitical and monetary environment, it was keeping its forecast for a 5-7 percent organic rise in full-year profit from recurring operations after last year’s 6.3 percent growth.

($1 = 0.8697 euros)

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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