Source: Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Results season is in full swing and there is plenty to digest from last week. Normally, Diageo's half-year results would dominate headlines on just-drinks, but PepsiCo's announcement that it will cut 3% of its workforce produced a strong rivalry for the 'front page'.
Emerging market thirst for beer, Scotch whisky and vodka continued to fuel Diageo in the first half of its fiscal year. There was also signs of improvement in the US and, all-in-all, analysts appeared more positive about the group's performance than at this time last year. However, the group described itself as cautious in the short-term, which, together with disappointing sales in Western Europe, subdued the party mood.
Over in soft drinks, last week provided full-year results for both The Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo. Morale between the red and blue corners of global soft drinks could not be more different. Coca-Cola highlighted growing global sales and a fresh initiative to save even more money and spend the spare cash on brands. This only heightened the pressure on PepsiCo to outline how it might restore confidence among its own shareholders.
Those expecting seismic changes were not disappointed, with 8,700 jobs to go and US$1.5bn savings targeted within two years. That said, confidence cannot be restored in a 24-hour period and there is nervousness about the firm essentially taking a sabbatical in 2012 to get its house in order. Put another way, does Coca-Cola have 12 months to get even further ahead?
Elsewhere in the news, things are hotting up for beer in China, with bidders beginning to circle Kingway Brewery in Guangdong province. Last week also saw Japan's brewers reporting results and business plans. Asahi lifted profits on lower sales, while Kirin needs to increased returns from overseas acquisitions. Sapporo, meanwhile, is targeting expansion in Vietnam, but saw 2011 profits hammered by earthquake-related costs.
Alongside the flurry of results, regular comment writers Ian Buxton and Richard Corbett considered whisk(e)y's compatibility with rap music and the long-surviving Red Bull brand respectively.