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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Ron Emler

Patrick Ricard, chairman and chief executive of Pernod Ricard, has told Harpers that he wants Britain to join the euro. When the euro was adopted by 12 members of the EU on 1 January 2002 it was a big advantage for us', he said. Our continental European customers are now linked by a single currency. If you want to set a European price, it is very tough when you have currencies that are not behaving the same way.' I would like Britain to join, not only for that reason, but it will help,' he added. Britain is a big market for us, and because it is not in the euro it is more difficult for us to set prices. The pound, which was a very strong currency, is now the currency of just one country. Eventually the British will have to move.' However, he acknowledged that it is for the British to choose when they will join,' acknowledging that the political decision will be taken this year. The Government has said it will assess by the end of June whether Gordon Brown's five tests have been met and whether or not to put the decision to a referendum, or decide to postpone a vote on British entry, probably until after the next general election. * Pernod Ricard and Diageo have signed an agreement that marks the end of the year-long working relationship to buy and split up the Seagram spirits and wines business. The agreement signals compliance with all the regulatory requirements which were outlined when Diageo and Pernod Ricard jointly acquired the Seagram spirits and wine business. This completes the disposal of all the brands originally identified for onward sale, and the integration of agreed brands into Pernod Ricard and Diageo.