UK: Diageo granted Korean import licence after "mistake"
Diageo has secured a new import licence for South Korea.
The drinks giant, which saw Korean authorities withdraw its licence in June last year, confirmed today (27 February) that the Korean National Tax Service has reissued the licence to Diageo Korea, with immediate effect.
Diageo was punished last year for using unlicensed wholesalers in the country, a move that company CEO Paul Walsh admitted had been "a mistake". Speaking to just-drinks earlier this month, Walsh admitted that the company had been in the wrong. "In Korea, that was our own mistake," he said. "We may think everyone (sells to unlicensed distributors), but the fact is, we got caught and we have to take our medicine. But I'm confident we will get our licence back."
The company said it will transition the business from Sooseok, who has acted as independent third party distributor for its brands since the end of July last year, and expects to be fully operational from 3 March. Stocks of Diageo's products currently held by Sooseok will now be transferred back to Diageo.
A spokesperson for the company told just-drinks today that Diageo was "delighted" with the announcement, declining to comment further.
As a condition of the licence reissue, the Korean authorities have specified that a minimum of 50% of Diageo's total Scotch whisky sales volume must be bottled in Korea by 1 April 2010. "Diageo will seek to engage the industry and review this requirement with the Korean authorities", the company concluded.
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