Diageo has deep India links

Diageo has deep India links

Diageo, the $15-billion world’s largest spirits manufacturer, enjoys a presence in over 180 countries.

While North America accounts for about a third of the company’s net sales and around 45 per cent of operating profit, around 39 per cent of its business comes from emerging markets. India is a prominent market for the company.

Diageo globally manufactures and distributes spirits, beer and wines, including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s, Windsor and Bushmills (all whiskies); Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One (vodkas); Captain Morgan rum; and  Don Julio (tequila), Tanqueray (gin) and Guinness (beer). Diageo India’s liquor portfolio includes Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker, VAT 69, J&B, and Black & White, Scotch whiskies.

Diageo paid a whopping $3 billion to take a controlling 54.78 per cent stake in United Spirits (USL), India’s largest liquor company. USL sold 123.7 million cases of alcoholic beverages for the fiscal ending March 31, 2013. Some of the company’s popular liquors include McDowell’s No.1, Antiquity and Bagpiper whiskies;Romanov and Vladivar vodkas; and Black Dog Scotch.

USL’s former promoter Vijay Mallya is a minority shareholder in the company now. Mallya himself held a mere 12,510 shares (0.01 per cent), while UBHL had 42,08,556 shares (2.9 per cent), and a few other UB Group entities such as Mallya Pvt, Vittal Investments, and Kingfisher Finvest India also held small holdings. Recently, relations between the two sides soured after Diageo’s Indian management asked Mallya to step down as USL’s Chairman and Director, alleging fund diversion to Kingfisher and other UB Group entities. Mallya, however, has vehemently denied the accusations.

Diageo has another Indian connection in its global leadership. It is led by Ivan Manuel Menezes, an India-born American-British business executive, as its chief executive officer from July 1, 2013.


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