Di­a­geo bat­tles LVMH over div­i­dend

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Han­nah Ut­t­ley

THE world’s largest spir­its man­u­fac­turer has locked horns with the planet’s big­gest lux­ury goods firm over a €181m un­paid div­i­dend.

Guin­ness and John­nie Walker owner Di­a­geo said it had launched ar­bi­tra­tion pro­ceed­ings against LVMH over its re­fusal to go ahead with the €181m (£166m) pay­out. The pair have a re­la­tion­ship that dates back to 1994 when they each in­vested in the other com­pany.

LVMH has since ditched its stake in Di­a­geo. But the UK firm still owns 34pc of LVMH’s wine and spir­its unit as part of a joint ven­ture. The French con­glom­er­ate – which is con­trolled by bil­lion­aire Bernard Ar­nault – owns the re­main­der of the Moet Hen­nessy divi­sion, which in­cludes brands such as Dom Perignon and Glen­morangie whisky. In ac­counts pub­lished last week, Di­a­geo said a part­ners’ agree­ment that gov­erns its in­vest­ment means it is en­ti­tled to a share of the divi­sion’s an­nual prof­its in the form of a div­i­dend.

Moet Hen­nessy is un­der­stood to have ini­tially rec­om­mended pay­ing a div­i­dend to­talling €531m for 2019, of which Di­a­geo would have been en­ti­tled to €181m.

LVMH de­clined to com­ment on the case.

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