Diageo aims to speed up sales growth in Africa

Kasmira Jefford
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DRINKS giant Diageo wants to further speed up its sales in Africa by expanding into new countries, rebranding its Guinness brand and tapping into the growing spirits market.

The FTSE 100 company currently makes £1.4bn in annual sales from its Africa division, accounting for 12 per cent of the group total.

Over the past decade, sales have been growing at a compound annual rate of 13 per cent, rising to 15 per cent over the last two years. Diageo believes sales could accelerate further as an additional 65m people reach the legal drinking age in the next decade.

“I fully expect that over the long term to be the same, if not accelerate,” Nick Blazquez, Diageo’s president for Africa, Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe, said on Monday ahead of an investor conference yesterday.

The majority of Diageo’s sales in Africa come from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. But as it expands in places like Ethiopia and Mozambique the rate of growth should increase, Blazquez said.

Diageo, which generates most of its sales in Africa from beer, is also working on a major rebranding of Guinness, with the new packs due to launch in Nigeria in the next few weeks.

It is also expanding its spirits business using sites where it already sells beer to push sales. As well as its premium, international brands like Johnnie Walker Scotch and Smirnoff vodka, Diageo sells mainstream, lower-priced brands like Jebel gin and Kenya Cane.