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DIAGEO

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Diageo : India, France drive Scotch whisky sales as Brexit looms

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02/12/2019 | 10:01am EST
FILE PHOTO: Bottles of single malt scotch whisky Glenmorangie are pictured in a shop near Lausanne

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - The value of Scotch whisky exports rose nearly 8 percent in 2018, backed by booming sales in India, France and the United States and the impact of pricier Scotch, data from Britain's tax authority HMRC showed on Tuesday.

Britain's biggest food and drink export grew 7.8 percent to £4.7 billion last year, with the number of 70 centilitre bottles sold abroad up 3.6 percent to 1.28 billion.

With Britain's exit from the European Union trading bloc due in six weeks, there is still no decision on what the trade rules for British exports will be after that. Producers of Scotland's flagship tipple are particularly worried about sales to the EU which make up about a third of their world market.

Scotch growth in recent years has been driven by demand for single malts, which are made at one distillery and pricier than blended Scotch which is made from mixing one or more whiskies.

Exports of single malts rose 11.3 percent to £1.3 billion.

In volume terms, exports were primarily driven by growth in India, which expanded by 23.1 million to 112.6 million bottles. The United States and France - the world's heaviest Scotch drinker - each grew exports by 9.4 million bottles.

At the same time, exports to Germany and Spain fell by around £10 million and £4.5 million apiece.

"(The) industry does not take continued growth for granted," said Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association which represents 90 percent of the producers.

She urged Britain not to leave the EU without a Brexit deal at the end of March.

"We also want to see the UK and EU agree to an open and positive future relationship, which delivers frictionless trade with the EU, and the UK to secure ambitious trading relationships with key markets around the world."

The United States became the first billion-pound export market for Scotch in 2018, growing 7.8 percent to £1.04 billion last year to retain its place as the largest market in the world for Scotch in terms of value.

Britain's trade minister Liam Fox said in response to the data: "My international economic department is focused on turning the UK into an exporting superpower and, as our single largest food and drink export, the success of Scotch whisky overseas is key to this ambition."

(Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Stephen Addison)

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DIAGEO -0.59% 3046 Delayed Quote.9.64%
PERNOD RICARD -0.70% 149.45 Real-time Quote.5.06%
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Financials (GBP)
Sales 2019 12 752 M
EBIT 2019 4 134 M
Net income 2019 3 180 M
Debt 2019 11 328 M
Yield 2019 2,27%
P/E ratio 2019 23,67
P/E ratio 2020 22,38
EV / Sales 2019 6,70x
EV / Sales 2020 6,41x
Capitalization 74 080 M
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Average target price 30,3  GBP
Spread / Average Target -1,1%
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Ivan M. Menezes Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Javier Ferrán Chairman
Kathryn A. Mikells Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Evan Mervyn Davies Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Kwon Ping Ho Independent Non-Executive Director
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