GROWTH in emerging markets including Africa helped both Johnnie Walker-maker Diageo and Peroni-brewer SABMiller to yesterday shrug off tepid demand in Europe.
Diageo, Scotland’s biggest distiller, posted a 1.1 per cent fall in sales in Western Europe during the three months to 30 September, but 5.1 per cent growth in North America helped global sales to rise by 3.1 per cent.
Sales in the Caribbean and Latin America stormed ahead by 10.9 per cent, but Asia-Pacific only managed 0.6 per cent growth as the Chinese government continued to cut back on expensive gifts.
The group said: “Despite improvement in Korea, improved performance in Diageo India and continued strong growth of our super and ultra-premium scotch brands in China the performance in Asia Pacific slowed.”
Ivan Menezes, Diageo’s chief executive, added: “Our performance in the quarter was good given weakness in some markets. The strength of our biggest business, United States spirits, underpinned our performance.”
Diageo highlighted 5 per cent sales growth in Africa, while SABMiller – which brews a range of beers from international brands such as Grolsch and Miller Genuine Draft through to more local labels like Dorada and Tropical – enjoyed an 11 per cent rise on the continent.
The rise – thanks in part to the popularity of Hero lager in Nigeria and Club lager in Ghana – helped to counter a 1 per cent fall in Europe, with overall global sales up by 4 per cent in the six months to 30 September.
SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark added: “We achieved a strong performance across our African business and made good progress in building on our positions in Latin America, South Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.”