Diageo gave investors and the drinks industry a sobering wake-up call last week. While you could hardly call a 17% rise in net profits a bad half-year performance, the drinks giant's sales are being weighed down by European consumers either too poor or too depressed to afford its drinks. Diageo's share price slip last week perhaps owes as much to unrealistic expectations on the part of investors as to the group's weak performance in Europe. The vagaries of recession continue to linger, then.
Against this fragile backdrop, Diageo's CEO, Paul Walsh, did little to douse the speculation on mergers and acquisitions. The group, he said, will take a look at everything that comes up and is particularly keen to secure more tie-ups in emerging markets. Could a move for Turkey's Mey Icki be on the cards later this year?
Other stories grabbing our attention last week were the ongoing rumblings at KWV in South Africa – is an acquisition totally out of the question now? – a reason to be cheerful for the Champagne producers – finally – and a further twist in the long-running row between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard over the Havana Club trademark.
Speaking of Pernod, I'm heading to Paris on Thursday this week, to hear what the company has to say about its fiscal H1 performance. I've also been granted an exclusive audience with company CEO Pierre Pringuet, who I last spoke to back in 2008. If you've got any questions you'd like me to put to him, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, a quick plug that may be of interest to many of you. We've teamed up with our sister site, just-food, to launch a buyers' guide to flavourings. Including a wealth of information such as the latest news affecting the sector, a directory of global flavourings vendors, consultants, media and events and downloads a-plenty, click here for a glimpse at what the guide can do for you.
Until next time...