Diageo resumes share buybacks as trading recovery continues

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Diageo PLC (LON;DGE) has resumed its share buyback programme following a trading improvement in its latest three months.

The Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan owner said it was seeing a good recovery across all regions.

In North America, its largest market, the performance has remained particularly strong, Diageo added, reflecting resilient consumer demand, and the breadth of the portfolio.

In Europe, off-trade channel sales are going well while Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean are seeing a general improvement.

Diageo paused its GBP4.5bn buyback programme in April 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus but has now started a second phase that will see GBP1bn worth of shares bought back by the end of 2022.

In the first phase, Diageo bought back GBP1.25bn worth of shares.

Ivan Menezes, chief executive, said: “When we have excess cash, we have been clear that we will seek to return it to shareholders.

“The board’s decision to resume our return of capital programme at this time reflects Diageo’s improved performance in the first half of fiscal 21, the continued strong recovery of our business, and our expectation that we will be back within the top end of our target leverage ratio at 30 June 2022.”

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