Interim management statement for the nine months ended 31 March 2015

31 May 2015 | Press release

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In the nine months ended 31 March 2015, net sales declined 0.3% on an organic basis and were down 0.7% in the quarter, with volume down 1.7% in the nine month period and 0.8% in the quarter

In the nine month period reported net sales grew 4.6%. Acquisitions, principally United Spirits Limited, contributed £700 million partially offset by an adverse impact of currency movements of £298 million and a reduction of £28 million due to disposals.

Following developments in Venezuela, including changes to the currency exchange mechanism, the group has translated its Venezuelan operations results for the quarter and for the nine months ended 31 March 2015 at a rate of $1 = VEF 192.95 (£1 = VEF 285.57). The organic growth rates for the first half shown in the table below reflect this exchange rate.

Organic net sales growth by region:

Nine months ended 31 March 2015
Three months ended 31 March 2015
Six months ended 31 December 2014
North America 0.2 0.9 (0.1)
Europe (0.5) (1.3) (0.3)
Africa 6.2 8.2 5.4
Latin America and Caribbean (3.3) (10.2) (1.0)
Asia Pacific (5.5) (6.0) (5.4)
Diageo (0.3) (0.7) (0.2)

Commentary on the quarter ended 31 March 2015:

The success of Crown Royal Regal Apple was the biggest driver of increased shipments in US Spirits & Wines and therefore of the improved performance in the quarter in North America. Smirnoff Red''s performance continues to improve although it was offset by the weakness of Captain Morgan. In the quarter, DGUSA''s shipments were weaker than in the first half due to phasing of shipments. Depletion trends have continued to improve during the quarter across both US spirits and DGUSA.

In Europe, following a broadly flat performance in the first half, the performance in the quarter saw a high single digit net sales decline in Great Britain reflecting the comparison against last year when a buy up ahead of an expected duty increase brought forward sales into the third quarter.

Africa, as expected delivered a stronger performance in the quarter. In Africa Regional Markets and East Africa, net sales continued to grow double digit. Improved performance in the quarter in Nigeria, with the success of Orijin and a steady improvement in Guinness'' performance, delivered double digit growth. In South Africa in the quarter, net sales of spirits grew 4% despite the weak economy; however total net sales were down as a result of the transfer of production of Smirnoff Ice Double Black & Guarana to Diageo''s DHN joint venture.

In Latin America and Caribbean, while there was a good performance in most domestic markets, currency volatility continues to negatively impact consumer demand and the inventory levels held by customers in some channels. The quarter was also specifically impacted by phasing issues which will benefit performance in the fourth quarter.

Asia Pacific performance in the quarter was broadly in line with the first half as net sales in South East Asia continued to be impacted by the decision to reduce inventory levels held by distributors. In addition, regulatory changes to the sale of beer in the off trade are to be introduced in Indonesia and this impacted performance in the quarter. In the Middle East, political tensions and Diageo''s decision to hold prices resulted in a decline in net sales in the quarter. In mainland China, net sales grew 13%, driven by the recovery of Diageo''s baijiu business.

At 31 March 2015, net assets were £8,691 million (£8,696 million at 31 December 2014). Net borrowings decreased £404 million from £10,668 million at 31 December 2014 to £10,264 million at 31 March 2015, primarily as a result of £265 million net cash proceeds received from sale of Bushmills less the acquisition cost of the 50% equity interest in Don Julio that Diageo did not already own. The group completed this transaction on 27 February 2015 and the exceptional gain before tax arising on the transaction is expected to be around £200 million.

Using current exchange rates (£1= $1.47; £1= €1.38; $1= VEF 193.85) the exchange rate movements for the year ending 30 June 2015 are estimated to adversely impact net sales and operating profit by £240 million and £110 million respectively, and increase net finance charges by £10 million excluding the impact of IAS 21 and IAS 39. As a result of Diageo''s adoption of the Simadi exchange rate to translate the results of the group''s Venezuelan business, a hyperinflation charge of approximately £20 million is estimated for the year ending 30 June 2015.

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo commented:

"Our performance in the quarter reflects continued tough conditions in the emerging markets and subdued consumer demand in some developed markets. However it also reflects the actions we have taken to ensure we are building a stronger business. Of key importance is that depletions continue to outpace shipments as we embed our sell out culture. In addition, our decision to destock some wholesale channels in South East Asia and West LAC will improve our ability to track consumer and customer trends and reduce future volatility.

Our route to consumer focus, momentum in reserve and successful innovations have each contributed to building a stronger business although lower inflation and weak economies will lead to subdued net sales growth in the current year despite these improvements.

Consumers in North America remain the most resilient and while lower gas prices and a more favourable macro outlook have not led to a significant shift, growth in the spirits category is improving and our depletion performance continues to build momentum, although I do not expect to see shipments improve until we have lapped last year.

We will continue to strengthen Diageo. We are investing in our brands, enhancing our route to consumer, introducing great innovations such as Crown Royal Regal Apple and Orijin, winning in reserve and focusing on cost and cash. We can realise Diageo''s full potential and deliver our performance ambition."


Organic net sales growth in the six months ended 31 December 2014

At $1 = VEF 192.95 (£1 = VEF 285.57) As previously reported at $1 = VEF 49.99 (£1 = VEF 77.98)
Diageo Q1% Q2% 7 8 11
Latin America and Caribbean 43 43 9 10 12