Diageo sales flat but second quarter improves

Lynsey Barber
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Diageo nabbed David Beckham as the face of Haig Club Whisky (Source: Press)

The figures

Half-year organic net sales were flat at Diageo, down 0.1 per cent, as volumes fell 1.9 per cent, in line with forecasts.

Net profit was down 18 per cent to £1.7bn from £2bn for the same period last year.

Sales in the US continued to be subdued with operating profit down one per cent, as was Asia Pacific, down seven percent, however, other regions managed single digit growth.

Currency volatility from the Euro, Russian ruble and Venezuelan Bolivar means it expects to take a hit of £85m on operating profit and £120m on net sales.

Why it’s interesting

The maker of Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker hasn’t been clinking glasses in celebration of its emerging market sales, or elsewhere due to currency volatility.

Russia and China, eyed as large growth markets, have been challenging for the world's biggest distiller, and they have been again.

US sales have been muted faltered.

What Diageo said

Chief executive Ivan Menezes said:

We have improved our performance during the half and we have again shown: the strength of our brands, which is driving our share gains; our strong innovation capability, which has enabled us to access new growth opportunities; and our focus on cost. We delivered the planned savings from our global efficiency programme together with procurement benefits in marketing spend which we have reinvested in our brands and we increased our investment in our routes to consumer while again expanding our margins.

We have already taken action to improve the performance of those brands and markets that have not performed as well as we would expect. This contributed to our stronger second quarter performance and I expect to maintain this momentum through the year.

In short

Diageo is steady rather than on the rocks after a more positive second-quarter, but these were no standout numbers.

It has however increased its dividend by nine per cent to 21.5 pence per share.

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