Strong US sales help Gruppo Campari

Gruppo Campari announced a net profit of €156.7 million (£135.9m) for the 2012 financial year, thanks largely to strong growth across the US.

CamapriThe profit is 6.9% down on last year’s figure and shares in Campari fell slightly on the back of the news.

Overall sales for the group increased 5.2% in 2012, with 8.8% growth in the US being the main driver, the region accounts for 34.7% of the group’s total sales.

Improved sales in Australia, Argentina and Russia helped to balance out “difficulties in the group’s traditional markets” of Italy, Germany and Brazil as the group’s overall revenue totalled €1.34 billion.

Bob Kunze-Concewitz, chief executive officer, said: “2012 results were overall satisfactory considering the very difficult market context and the continued steady progress in improving our brand and market mix.

“Regarding the existing business in 2012, adverse market conditions in the group’s traditional markets, particularly Italy, Brazil, Germany, affected our aperitifs and still wine portfolio but were compensated by strong growth in newly established sales platforms in Australia, Argentina and Russia in combination with the continued strong performance of the overall US business.”

The Gruppo Campari figures mirror those of Diageo and Pernod Ricard, who also announced that strong US and Eastern Europe growth helped to offset disappointing sales in Western Europe.

In 2012 the group entered into the rum category through the acquisition of Lascelles DeMercado, which helped it to record a “positive year in terms of external growth”. Mr Kunze-Concewitz said he expects this acquisition plus the growth in the US and Eastern Europe to help the group move forward in 2013.

He added: “Looking forward, we expect 2013 to be another challenging year due to heightened macroeconomic difficulties in Eurozone markets. However, continued positive momentum in the US and the Pacific, coupled with improvements in Latin America, stronger growth in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, as well as a strong innovation pipeline and heightened brand building in our core categories will help compensate European weakness.

“We expect to further strengthen our brand portfolio and route to market in the Americas and the Pacific thanks to our transformational acquisition of Lascelles deMercado. Net in net, looking forward we are well equipped to tackle the awaiting challenges.”

In its statement the group said that the sales figures were “driven by the continued strong momentum” of its key brands, notably Campari, Wild Turkey and Skyy (which benefitted from the launch of Skyy Infusions).

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