Diageo not immune to global trade wars as whisky giant assures on goals

Diageo, the drinks giant behind Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker and Irish brewer Guinness, said it was not immune from “significant changes to global trade policy” as it provided a generally upbeat snapshot on trading.

Johnnie Walker is one of the group's most famous Scotch whisky brands. Picture: Diageo

Issuing a brief update ahead of its annual general meeting, the group’s chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “[The latest financial year] has started well as we continue to build on the momentum and consistent progress we are making in the execution of our strategy.

“Our focus remains on delivering quality sustainable growth. This is supported by a culture of everyday efficiency that enables us to invest smartly in marketing and growth initiatives while expanding margins.”

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He added: “Due to a strong prior year comparable, for the first half we expect organic operating profit growth to be in-line with or slightly behind organic net sales growth.

“However, we would not be immune from significant changes to global trade policy and continue to monitor this closely.”

Shore Capital analyst Alex Smith noted: “The company states that [financial year 2020] has started well as it continues to build momentum and consistent progress in the execution of its strategy.

“It has reiterated its guidance provided at the time of the results [on 25 July] of delivering organic sales growth in the mid single digits and towards the mid point of the 4 per cent to 6 per cent range, with organic operating profit growth to come in roughly one percentage point ahead of this.

“It also caveats that the group would not be immune from potential significant changes to global trade policy.”

Earlier this week, workers at Diageo’s distilleries said they had suspended strike action after a last-minute pay deal was offered.