Pernod Ricard, one of the biggest spirits companies in the world, is temporarily relocating its executives outside of Hong Kong, as the city clings onto its self isolation in face of record-breaking Covid cases.
According to a report by Financial Times, the French drinks group, has asked its senior executives based in the Asian financial hub to temporarily move out of the city to better serve its Asian markets.
The latest surge that triggered Hong Kong’s toughest Covid curbs yet including banning public and family gatherings of more than two have added urgency to the French drinks giant’s relocation decision, according to the report.
Dubai is being considered as a replacement for Hong Kong.
Pernod Ricard Hong Kong and Macau is a division of Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free Limited and is responsible for the distribution, sales & marketing of the Group’s international brands in Hong Kong and Macau.
Its Hong Kong office, renovated in 2020, sprawls 20,000 square feet inside luxury shopping mall Harbour City in Kowloon.
The news came after a few international conglomerates have decided to move management team away from Hong Kong as the city doubles down on social distancing measures in its pursuit of “zero Covid” when most countries have moved on to live with the virus.
For two years, the city’s business has been battered by prolonged border closures and lengthy hotel quarantines of up to 21 days.
The latest and more infectious Omicron surges have pushed the city’s health system to the brink with daily cases logged in thousands when for the better part of last two years, the number was capped below 200 a day.
For now, the local government has ruled out a citywide and mainland style lockdown but district lockdown is still not out of the question.
As the city scrambles to contain the spread, the Hong Kong government is working with mainland officials to increase mass testing capacity and set up makeshift hospitals.
Pernod Ricard is the world’s No. 2 in wines and spirits with consolidated sales of €8,824 million in FY 2021, and owns popular brands such as Martell, Chivas Regal, Absolut, G.H. Mumm Champagne, Perrier-Jouet Champagne and Jameson.
In the first half of FY22, the company’s revenue in Asia grew by 16% driven by China, India and Turkey, according to its latest financial report.