Whisky winner

Consumers seeking luxury boost Diageo profits

Johnnie-Walker-Princes Street
Johnnie Walker is benefiting from consumers treating themselves (pic: Terry Murden)

Drinks giant Diageo beat full-year sales forecasts as consumers continued treating themselves to expensive scotch, whisky and tequila despite high prices.

The world’s largest spirits maker, which makes Johnnie Walker whisky, Captain Morgan’s rum and Guinness, said organic net sales rose 6.5% to £17.12bn in the year to 30 June, marginally beating analysts’ forecasts for a 6.4% increase. This represented a 10.7% in year-on-year growth, supported by foreign exchange tailwinds (organic net sales grew by 6.5%).

Underlying earnings (EBITDA) came to £6.4bn, compared to £5.6bn in 2022.

Operating profit grew 5.1% to £4.6bn, though margins fell back a bit from 28.5% in 2022 to 27.1% in 2023.

Scotch net sales grew by 12% and beer by 9%, with rum and vodka growing in the low single digits.

Looking ahead to the 2024 financial year, Diageo expects premiumisation trends to drive operating profits and sales growth, though specific numbers were not provided.

In her first statement since the death of CEO Ivan Menezes in June, his successor Debra Crew said:”We drove double-digit organic net sales growth in scotch, tequila, and Guinness, with our premium-plus brands contributing 57% of overall organic net sales growth.”

Diageo said its organic net sales increase reflected 7.3 percentage points of price/mix and a decline in organic sales volumes of 0.8%.

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