Drinks giants attacked over supplier terms

The Forum of Private Business has criticised two of the world’s largest drinks companies for changing their payment terms with smaller suppliers.

Diageo, the company behind Guinness and Johnnie Walker whisky, has extended the period within which it pays suppliers to 60 days. Meanwhile, the FPB also said that Anheuser-Busch InBev has told smaller suppliers of services, spare parts and capital expenditure projects that it plans to double its payment period to 120 days.

The FPB has written to them outlining the damage their changes will inflict on smaller suppliers. Phil Orford, the chief executive of the FPB, said: “These two companies are attempting to claw back what they have lost as a result of the economic downturn by taking advantage of their dominant position in this sector at the expense of their supplier base.”

Diageo adjusted its payment terms with non-contracted suppliers with effect from 19 January. Diageo said it had moved to one standard payment term for these suppliers, but the maximum increase for the majority was 15 days. Anheuser-Busch InBev has extended its payment terms from 1 January and is staggering the amount paid to suppliers of capital expenditure projects.