February 15, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
The London International Wine Fair is widely regarded as the key trade event for wine and spirits in the world today. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2010, the Fair delivers a unique opportunity for producers, importers and buyers to focus on business.
Falling demand for premium spirits in western markets proved to be a hefty thorn in Diageo's side in the first six months of its fiscal year. Most media outlets, including ourselves, led their coverage of Diageo's results last week with this point.
However, the figures are by no means disastrous. Diageo registered a 2% fall in like-for-like sales in its second quarter and net sales actually rose when one-off currency gains are included. Indeed, most analysts believe the owner of Smirnoff and Guinness has "bottomed out" and will regain ground in its second half.
Group CEO Paul Walsh predicted a significant rise in profitability in the home straight of this fiscal, even though premium drinks trends are unlikely to improve in the US and UK. Ireland and Spain, meanwhile, are set to remain economic basket cases.
There were interesting snippets to take out from the firm's results conference, such as the news that demand for premium Scotch whisky continues to grow apace in Asia.
Separately, Walsh grabbed another opportunity to put the screws on the UK Government's tax policy, warning that the firm may move its headquarters overseas; a spot of election agenda setting, perhaps?
Elsewhere on just-drinks last week, our resident soft drinks and water expert, Annette Farr, asked just how ethical many companies' ethical claims really are. And, speaking of soft drinks, the release of both Coca-Cola Co's and PepsiCo's full-year results last week gave us the chance to consider which of the drinks giants has the bragging rights now.
Coming up this week, we've got a wealth of drinks companies set to present at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Florida. We'll be listening in to what they all have to say, and if you have any questions you'd like answered, then drop us a line – the schedule can be found here.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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