Diageo toasts 32% profit rise

Whisky lovers in the emerging markets helped pre-tax profit at Johnnie Walker and Guinness maker Diageo hit £3.1bn for the year to June 30.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
Eurozone residents have stopped drowning their sorrows - there’s just not enough cash to spare for liquor – but growth in the emerging markets has more than made up the shortfall. Diageo’s net sales are down 1% in Europe, and up 3% in Russia, Eastern Europe and Turkey.  

The emerging markets account for some 40% of Diageo’s sales and profit in these territories is up a ruddy-cheeked 23%.  Latin America and the Caribbean were also key regions for the brand: volumes are up 19% with net sales increasing 10% to £1.2bn. CEO Paul Walsh says, ‘We have increased our presence in the faster growing markets of the world, through both acquisitions and strong organic growth.’

Walsh has also made a canny £1bn investment into boosting Scotch whisky production. It would seem counterintuitive for a company that deals in volumes – real Scotch needs to mature for a three-year minimum - but with sales up 12%, there’s the proof.

Diageo’s liquor portfolio is impressive: it makes Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Pimm’s and Jose Cuervo tequila, as well as the black stuff among many, many others. But whisky is its bread and butter. It is the largest producer of the stuff in the world. Sales across the portfolio of whisky brands are up 35%, with Johnnie Walker, the top tipple, rising 15%.

Overall, net sales at the booze giant stand at £10.8bn for the year, with pre-tax profit at £3.1bn. As a result, Diageo has decided to raise the size of its final dividend by 8%, taking the payout for the year to 43.5p, compared with 40.4p in 2011.

Now that’s what MT calls feel-good spirit.

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