Diageo sells Croft port and sherry for £51m

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The Independent Online

Diageo, the drinks group that includes Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, is selling its Croft port and sherry business as it continues its policy of concentrating on a small number of "power" brands. The company is also selling its Delaforce port and sherry operations in a combined deal worth £51m.

Gonzalez Byass of Spain is buying the Croft sherry business and the company's assets in Spain. Taylor Fonseca of Portugal is buying the port operations in Portugal as well as the Delaforce brand and the right to the Croft brand for marketing port worldwide. Diageo will retain the right to market Croft brandy.

Diageo has been selling off smaller brands since it formed in 1997 following the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. The group's key drinks brands are Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Malibu, Cuervo tequila, Tanquery gin, Baileys liqueur and Guinness stout.

Last year, the company announced plans to spin off its Burger King fast food division and sell Pillsbury, its US foods operation. The group is also awaiting approval from US and Canadian authorities for its joint deal with Pernod Ricard to buy the Seagram drinks business for $8.15bn (£5.62bn).

Diageo is due to report its full-year results on Thursday. Analysts forecast profits of around £2bn with the drinks division performing well but the food operations struggling. The shares closed 8p lower at 687p.

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