Diageo warns coronavirus could dent 2020 profit by $260 million

Diageo, the world's biggest spirits company and producer of brands including Guinness and Smirnoff Vodka, said Wednesday (February 26) that the spread of coronavirus in greater China and the Asia Pacific could knock up to $260 million off its 2020 profits.

The company cited widespread closures of bars and restaurants in China, and a substantial reduction in eating out.

It also highlighted a hit to consumption in several other Asian countries, especially South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

Trading has been significantly disrupted since the end of January, and Diageo expects this to last at least into March.

After that it anticipates a gradual improvement, with consumption returning to normal levels towards the end of the financial year.

Shares in Diageo were down almost 2% by early afternoon.