A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
The group’s sales amounted to €618 million and group net profit stood at $77.9 million, a 3.5% increase.
Of the company’s major brands, Skyy’s sales value grew by 11%, the Wild Turkey franchise grew by 22.1%, Aperol increased by 1.7%, Campari dropped by 0.9% and Cinzano vermouth saw a 4.2% decrease.
The Americas markets, which make up a third of sales, posted growth of 9.6%, with an organic increase of 7.2%.
In the US market (21.7% of total group sales), an organic increase of 13.2% was registered, driven by Wild Turkey, Skyy, Carolans, Espolón, Cabo Wabo and Campari.
Sales in Brazil (6.1% of total group sales) registered a negative organic performance of -14.2%, because of "destocking which followed pre-buying activities" in the last quarter of 2011 and a slowdown in consumption in the overall beverage sector, which impacted, in particular, local brands.
Sales in the other Americas markets (5.8% of total group sales) showed an organic growth of 17.6%, mainly thanks to a strong performance in Canada (driven by Skyy Vodka and Campari), Mexico (driven by Skyy ready-to-drink’s, Skyy Vodka and Espolón) and Argentina (driven by Campari, Old Smuggler and the local brands).
Bob Kunze-Concewitz, chief executive officer of Gruppo Campari said: “Trading in South America was impacted, in particular, by a slowdown in consumption in Brazil. On the positive side, heightened brand-building activities helped accelerate positive momentum across the portfolio in North America.
The Italian market (34.4% of total group sales), was hit by a weakening consumer confidence, and recorded a total growth of +1.4%, driven by a continued positive performance of Aperol, Campari and Skyy Vodka, benefiting from the newly introduced flavoured range, more than offsetting weaker performances of Glen Grant, Cynar, still wines and Crodino.
Sales in the rest of Europe (22.2% of total group sales) decreased by -2.1%. Germany registered a decrease of -9.7%, as a consequence of "a commercial dispute with a key retailer negatively affecting Aperol and Campari, as well as poor weather conditions".
In Russia, where performance was impacted by the transition of the group’s business into “the new sales platform”, trading is “progressively returning to a normalised trend (in particular, for the Cinzano and Mondoro brands)”.
Sales in the rest of the world (including GTR), which accounted for 9.7% of total group sales, grew by 22.5% overall, with key markets Australia, Japan, China, South Africa and Nigeria all performing well.
Kunze-Concewitz said: “We continued to grow strongly in Asia Pacific, constantly taking market share. Looking forward into the second half of the year, which, traditionally, weighs considerably more on full year results, we remain cautiously optimistic.
“Whilst we do not expect any improvements in the tough overall trading environment in the most challenging markets, we expect to maintain a good balance between potential upsides and downsides.
“Positive momentum in North America and Asia Pacific with a return to normal trading conditions in Russia and slow but gradual resolution of the trade dispute in Germany should help compensate for a very challenging environment in Italy and South America.”