Drinks giant - whose brands include Bruichladdich - to update on spirits demand

French spirits group Rémy Cointreau, owners of brands including Bruichladdich Scotch whisky and The Botanist Gin, is expected to report continuing strong demand when it reports full-year profits this week.

The company has already flagged that sales rose by 1.8 per cent during the last financial year despite the impact of Covid-19 on global markets.

The full-year sales performance was buoyed by a bumper 15 per cent growth in the fourth quarter as lockdown measures eased, with the US and mainland China among the star performers.

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Although the Americas region posted full-year growth of 18.6 per cent and double-digit growth was also seen in mainland China and Australia, its Europe, Middle East and Africa region posted a 21.7 per cent decline.

The performance of its whisky division was one of the strongest in Rémy Cointreau's portfolio in the last financial year. Picture: contributed.

However, the group said the UK showed strong momentum, helped by buoyant at-home consumption.

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The whisky business posted strong full-year growth thanks to solid momentum in most of its key markets, particularly in Asia during the Chinese New Year.

With full-year sales slightly ahead of expectations, Rémy Cointreau expects operating profits to have grown by around 10 per cent during the year, although adverse foreign exchange effects will affect the bottom line.

Rémy Cointreau agreed to buy Islay whisky maker Bruichladdich for £58 million in July 2012. The payout was considerably higher than the £34m price tag analysts had predicted when the deal was first mooted.

Earlier this month, Scotland's biggest whisky producer Diageo restarted its plan to return up to £4.5 billion of cash to investors as it continues its bounce-back from the pandemic.

The Johnnie Walker-to-Guinness drinks giant, which also makes Smirnoff vodka and Baileys, said it now expects full-year earnings growth of at least 14 per cent as sales have staged a further recovery since its first half.

Diageo said that, thanks to the strong performance, it will resume the plan to return cash to shareholders that was paused in April last year at the height of the coronavirus crisis.

The move comes as part of a wider long-term aim, initially launched in 2019, to return cash to investors, but the timescale has been extended by two years to June 30, 2024.

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