Diageo plc (LON:DGE) has announced its interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2020.
• Reported net sales (£6.9 billion) down 4.5%, as organic growth of 1.0% was more than offset by unfavourable exchange. Reported operating profit (£2.2 billion) declined 8.3%, driven by unfavourable exchange and a decline in organic operating profit.
• Organic net sales up 1.0%, despite a significant impact from Travel Retail and on-trade restrictions. North America was up 12.3%, offsetting declines in other regions, except for Africa which was broadly flat.
• North America growth was driven by resilient consumer demand, share growth of total beverage alcohol, positive category mix and the replenishment of stock levels by distributors and retailers
• Organic operating profit down 3.4%, driven by channel and category mix. Productivity benefits from everyday cost efficiencies largely offset cost of goods sold inflation
• Net cash from operating activities up £0.7 billion to £2.0 billion, and free cash flow up £0.8 billion to £1.8 billion. This primarily reflects a lower tax payment and working capital benefit driven by reduced creditor balances at the end of fiscal 20, as a result of reduced sales demand and cost control measures triggered in response to Covid-19. Creditor balances have now recovered to more normalised levels.
• Basic eps of 67.6 pence decreased 14.6%. Pre-exceptional eps declined 12.8% to 69.9 pence, driven primarily by unfavourable exchange and lower operating profit.
• Interim dividend increased 2% to 27.96 pence per share.
• Strong sequential performance improvement in all regions compared to the second half of fiscal 20. Expecting continued impact in the second half of fiscal 21 from on-trade restrictions and disruption to Travel Retail.
Strategic and operational highlights in F21 H1
• Supported the recovery of the hospitality sector through ‘Raising the Bar,’ our $100 million global two-year programme, which has already reached around 30,000 outlets in seven countries
• Rapidly responded to increased consumer demand in the off-trade channel, leading to market share gains.
• Delivered broad-based growth across most categories, including tequila, gin, Canadian whisky, US whiskey, liqueurs and ready to drink.
• Leveraged deep understanding of consumer behaviour, innovating across our brands to recruit new consumers and unlock new occasions in convenience and at-home.
• Increased investment in digital capabilities, including e-commerce.
• Continued capex investment in capacity, consumer experiences and sustainability.
• Completed acquisition of Aviation American Gin and Davos Brands, further premiumising our portfolio.
• Leveraged our embedded culture of everyday efficiency to drive continued productivity savings.
• Launched ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’, our 10-year sustainability action plan, building on our strong track record in sustainability and responsibility.
Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, said:
“We delivered a strong performance in a challenging operating environment, returning to top line organic sales growth during the half. We rapidly pivoted to the channels and occasions most relevant to consumers and invested behind new opportunities. This more than offset the impact of on-trade restrictions and the decline in Travel Retail.
North America, our largest market, performed particularly strongly and ahead of our expectations. Consumer demand has been resilient and the spirits category continues to gain share of total beverage alcohol. Across other regions we delivered strong sequential improvement compared to the second half of fiscal 20. This reflects improved market share performance through excellent execution in the off-trade channel, and the partial re-opening of the on-trade channel in certain markets.
Organic operating margin improved compared to the second half of fiscal 20 driven by increased operating leverage and tight control of discretionary expenditure. The decline compared to the first half of fiscal 20 reflected an adverse channel and portfolio mix. We expect margins to improve as the on-trade and Travel Retail recover and with the continued benefit of everyday efficiency.
Our proprietary tools and data-led insights are enabling us to invest smartly in effective marketing and innovation. We continue to strengthen brand equity, premiumise our portfolio and expand our digital capabilities.
I am proud of the creativity and adaptability of our people and their exemplary commitment to supporting our customers and communities. Our $100 million global commitment to support the recovery of the hospitality sector has already reached around 30,000 outlets in seven countries. We expect ongoing volatility and disruption in the second half of the year, particularly in the on-trade channel, which will make performance more challenging. The medium and long-term growth drivers and opportunities for our business remain intact and I am confident in our strategy, the resilience of our business and Diageo’s ability to emerge stronger.