FRANCE – Spirits and wine maker, Pernod Ricard is set to make changes in its French operations that will see the group merge two French businesses, Ricard and Pernod, next year.

Pernord Ricard said that consolidating the businesses, which has become ‘overly complex and lacks agility’, will however lead to 280 job loss and has hence opted to open the roles to voluntary redundancy.

The group plans to unite the two businesses under the name Pernod Ricard France by July 2020, following similar restructures that have taken place in the US, China and global travel retail.

The group said that group sales in France have fallen by €60 million (US$65 million) in the past two years as a result of “deflationary pressures”, the impact of the Egalim Law, which has seen enhanced food and drink regulation in France.

By creating Pernod Ricard France through a project named ‘Reconquer!’, Pernod Ricard believes it can win back consumers with a ‘unified and optimised portfolio and bold innovation plan’.

While the merger will result to 280 jobs rendered redundant, with mostly the sales and marketing departments affected by the new business combination, the group said the merger would also create around 90 new roles.

“The proposed merger of the two companies would lead to approximately 280 roles being open to voluntary redundancy,”​ says Pernod Ricard.

“These would involve the sales and marketing departments affected by the new business combination.

“This organisation would also create new career development opportunities for employees with the planned creation of around 90 new roles to support this new strategy.​

“The introduction of this structure would rely on a voluntary approach. A voluntary redundancy scheme including support measures, in line with best practices in our sector, would then be proposed to the employees concerned.

“The success of this project will therefore be the result of ongoing labour negotiations initiated as of today with the Ricard and Pernod trade unions.”​

The company also announced that it intends to sell its sparkling wine brand Café de Paris and the Cubzac production site to Invivo Wine, the wine division of the French agricultural cooperative.

Pernod Ricard and Invivo are in talks to establish a sub-contracting agreement for the brands that will not be sold to Invivo.