USL to go for strategic review of its select popular brands

Diageo-controlled United Spirits Ltd (USL) on Tuesday said it is initiating a strategic review of select popular brands as part of its strategy to continue "long-term profitable growth" through premiumising its portfolio.

USL's popular portfolio comprises around 30 brands and the strategic review will focus on approximately half of this portfolio by volume, said a company statement.

This review will not include its popular economy brands - McDowell's or Director's Special, said USL adding the process would be completed by the end of this year.

USL Managing Director and CEO Anand Kripalu said: "This review reinforces USL's and Diageo's commitment to deliver sustainable long-term growth and improved profitability, through a sharpened focus on core Popular and Prestige & Above brands, including international brands." USL's popular portfolio comprises around 30 entry-level lower-priced brands, with an average consumer price less than Rs 400 for a 750ml bottle and straddle whisky, rum, brandy, vodka and gin. "The intent of the review is to continue the transformation of the business in delivering our strategy of long-term profitable growth through the premiumisation of the company's portfolio," Kripalu said. The strategic review will therefore assess all options to continue this approach, whilst taking into account the potential impacts of each. Earlier, USL had licensed several economy brands as Bagpiper whisky and Celebration rum to regional bottlers in return for annual royalty payments in several states.

The Bengaluru-based company is the country's leading beverage alcohol company and a subsidiary of world's leading spirits maker Diageo plc, makers of Johnnie Walker, Vat 69, Captain Morgan.

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