Diageo tops up interim dividend after organic sales increase

28 January, 2021

Diageo managed to grow organic sales by 1% in the six months to December 31 despite suffering from restrictions on the on-trade and travel retail.

Sales in North America increased 12.3% for the Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness producer, which helped offset declines in most other regions around the globe.

However, unfavourable exchange rates saw reported net sales decrease 4.5% to £6.9 billion for the half-year period. Organic operating profit was down 3.4%.

Net cash from operating activities increased £700 million to £2 billion, while free cash flow up was up to £1.8 billion.

Chief executive Ivan Menezes said the firm had delivered a strong performance in a challenging environment.

Interim dividend has increased 2% to 27.96 pence per share. Diageo’s share price increased by almost 4% after the interim results were announced.

“We rapidly pivoted to the channels and occasions most relevant to consumers and invested behind new opportunities,” said Menezes. “This more than offset the impact of on-trade restrictions and the decline in travel retail.

North America, our largest market, performed particularly strongly and ahead of our expectations. Consumer demand has been resilient and the spirits category continues to gain share of total beverage alcohol.

“Across other regions we delivered strong sequential improvement compared to the second half of fiscal 20. This reflects improved market share performance through excellent execution in the off-trade channel, and the partial re-opening of the on-trade channel in certain markets.

“The medium and long-term growth drivers and opportunities for our business remain intact and I am confident in our strategy, the resilience of our business and Diageo’s ability to emerge stronger.”

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