Diageo CEO tells New York investors firm is optimistic over 2019 results

Diageo’s chief executive Ivan Menezes has given an upbeat assessment of performance at the world’s biggest premium drinks group to investors and analysts in New York.

Diageo’s CEO, Ivan Menezes (Photo: Diageo)

Diageo’s shares have already risen by more than 20% in 2019 and they jumped by a further percentage point following his presentation, which contained scarcely coded guidance that when the global group announces its results to the end of next month, they will be at the top end of expectations.

Speaking to the invited audience, Menezes said: “Diageo has delivered strong performance over the past two years with consistent mid-single digit organic top line growth; upweighted investment in our brands; as well as organic operating margin expansion and strong cash flows.

“During the same period we have generated attractive total shareholder returns and, from fiscal 17 to fiscal 19 H1, have returned £7bn to shareholders via dividends and share buy-backs.

“As we approach the end of our financial year, we are reiterating our current guidance of delivering organic net sales growth towards the upper end of our mid-single digit range and 175bps organic operating margin improvement over the three years ending 30 June 2019.

“We operate in an attractive industry supported by strong consumer fundamentals. Our strategy remains focussed on delivering sustainable, consistent growth.

“A culture of everyday efficiency has been embedded in the business and we are constantly challenging ourselves for more. Our ongoing focus on efficiency enables us to continue to increase investment in our brands. It will also support other growth initiatives and underpin organic operating margin improvement, creating a self-sustaining platform for growth.

“As we look ahead to the end of fiscal 22 [the end of the next three-year strategy], I expect Diageo to maintain organic net sales growth in the mid-single digit range and to grow organic operating profit ahead of net sales in the range of 5% to 7%.”

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