Belfast Telegraph

Gin craze boosts drinks giant Diageo

The Gordon’s and Tanqueray group said sales of gin jumped 16% in the year to June 30.

The soaring popularity of gin has helped drinks giant Diageo chalk up a 4.8% rise in annual profits as it toasted a double-digit surge in sales of the tipple.

The Gordon’s and Tanqueray group said sales of gin jumped 16% in the year to June 30, making it one of the star performers for the group and accounting for 4% of net revenues.

Its gin boost helped annual pre-tax profits swell to £3.7 billion, from £3.6 billion the previous year, on revenues 5% higher at £12.2 billion on an organic growth basis.

The group said performance was particularly strong in the UK and Europe, with Tanqueray gaining market share and Gordon’s benefiting from the launch of its Pink gin.

Sales of high-end gin have soared in recent years as it has come back in favour, with Britons spending £461 million on the spirit last year – up 32.5% on 2016 and three times the sales seen in 2009, according to recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The gin craze propelled half-year figures higher at posh tonic maker Fever-Tree earlier this week, with underlying half-year earnings up 35% to £34 million on sales 45% higher.

Alongside its full-year results, Diageo also announced a windfall for investors by unveiling a £2 billion share buyback over the financial year ahead.

But the group saw shares fall around 1% as investors looked to take profits.

The figures showed a decent performance in the UK buoyed its European results, with underlying operating profits for Europe and Turkey up 10% at £1.03 billion.

UK net sales lifted 8%, with double-digit gin growth offsetting a 2% fall for Smirnoff vodka.

Chris Wickham, consumer goods analyst at equity development, said: “Diageo finished its financial year able to raise a glass all round the world, as every region contributed positively to organic sales growth.

“With constant investment in marketing its brands and a sharp eye on cash and costs, Diageo is setting itself up to win long term.

“With so much innovation around – from craft gins to funky beers – that’s reassuring for its shareholders to know.”

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