Guinness Puts the Froth on Diageo Sales in Tough Times

Daily Mail (London), August 29, 2008 | Go to article overview

Guinness Puts the Froth on Diageo Sales in Tough Times


Byline: Rupert Steiner

GUINNESS'S tumbling dominos commercial helped the Irish ale outperform the UK market, as owner Diageo lowered its growth targets for 2009 on fears over the economic downturn.

The world's largest drinks company, which also owns Smirnoff Vodka, said the surprise 3pc increase in UK sales of its 'black gold' was driven by advertising campaigns and a focus on more consistent quality.

Most brewers have suffered at the hands of the declining UK beer market.

The owner of Gordon's Gin, J& B, and Johnnie Walker, also said, in full year figures to the end of June, that Guinness's success had been global.

The brand's sales minus VAT grew 6pc with more than half of that growth coming from Africa.

Diageo also benefited from strong whisky sales in Latin America.

But the cost of acquisitions meant the drinks giant posted flat pretax profits of ?2bn on sales up from ?9.9bn to ?10.6bn.

Dividends were increased from 32.72p to 34.35p. Underlying earnings rose 3pc, driving the shares up 20 1 / 2 p to 1,000p.

Chief executive Paul Walsh signalled that he was looking to make an acquisition of a premium beer brand after talks with the UK's Cobra beer collapsed. …

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