Email of the day
Comment of the Day

September 26 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day

on Diageo

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this email highlighting some of the attractive features we look for in companies before considering them Autonomies as well as for the article from Foreign Policy Magazine by Afshin Molavi. Here is a section:

Today Diageo is walking toward India and the acquisition of United Spirits, the country's largest alcoholic drinks firm, with 60 percent of the market. In July, it acquired a 25 percent stake in the company, and it aims to own more than half. Indians consume more whiskey than any other country in the world, and the distribution network Diageo would get with the purchase of United Spirits is akin to a raw materials producer gaining access to internal rail networks or shipping ports. Diageo has also acquired Brazil's Ypioca, the third-largest producer of cachaca , the popular sugar-cane-based spirit that adds the kick to caipirinhas from Sao Paulo to San Diego. It also recently had its eyes on Mexico's Jose Cuervo, the world's top-selling tequila-maker.

China is the big prize, though. There alone the middle class has grown to some 350 million people. According to consulting firm Ernst & Young, by 2030 China could see 1 billion people in the middle class -- some 70 percent of its projected population. And they'll be toasting to their success: The market research company Euromonitor International predicts that China alone will contribute 50 percent of the volume growth of the spirits industry in coming years. China is already the world's largest spirits market, followed by Russia and then India, though the South Asian giant will move into the second spot this year, according to industry estimates.

Regardless of one's attitude to alcohol and the social ills so often associated with over consumption, the fact remains that the ambition of a sizeable proportion of the population is to have the free time to sit back in front of the TV with a cool beverage to enjoy live sport. While the purveyors of spirits are aiming for a more upmarket audience the association of free time, leisure, enjoyment, upward mobility and the expense of strong spirits is a powerful marketing tool.

The brewing sector has benefitted enormously from the rise of the middle classes in some of the world's largest population centres. The fact that they participate in a high margin business and are globally diversified affords a certain degree of reliability in dividend payouts and growth. Diageo (Est P/E 17.62, DY 2.62%) is an S&P Europe 350 dividend aristocrat. Anheuser-Busch InBev (Est P/E 20.98, 2.29%) and SAB Miller (Est P/E 20.58, DY 2.22%) are former members with similar yields. US listed Brown Foreman (Est P/E 23.51, DY 1.48%) is an S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat

A high degree of commonality has been evident since 2009 and a general loss of momentum can be observed since late last year. This ranging phase has allowed valuations to compress somewhat so that the sector's premium to the wider market has narrowed. However, nothing has yet occurred to suggest this ranging phase has ended. They will all need to hold above their respective June/July lows if medium-term potential for additional upside is to continue to be given the benefit of the doubt.

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